Scalable Nano-Scaffold Architecture on the Internal Surface of SOFC Anode for Direct Hydrocarbon Utilization Email Page
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Performer: West Virginia University Research Corporation
TEM images depict the conformal and uniform<br/>ALD coating of nano crystals (~5 nm) catalyst<br/>onto internal surface of active layer from<br/>commercial Ni/YSZ anode.
TEM images depict the conformal and uniform
ALD coating of nano crystals (~5 nm) catalyst
onto internal surface of active layer from
commercial Ni/YSZ anode.
Website: West Virginia University
Award Number: FE0026167
Project Duration: 10/01/2015 – 07/31/2020
Total Award Value: $1,009,738
DOE Share: $799,999
Performer Share: $209,739
Technology Area: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Key Technology: Cell Technology
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Project Description

West Virginia University (WVU) will use Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) coating and pre-operation thermal treatment on commercial solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) to tailor the nanostructure on anode surfaces. ALD techniques and engineered anode surface architecture will be applied to the inherently functional fuel cells using the commercial available ALD systems. Researchers will identify the key nanostructure engineering processes necessary to improve the performance of state-of-the-art commercial SOFCs. The specific project objectives are to enhance the electro-catalytic activity and cell durability of commercial cells through: (1) the formation of single-phase discrete nano-crystals of a protonic conductor, on the internal surface of Ni/YSZ anodes, (2) the deposition of single phase electro-catalysts, on the internal surface of Ni/YSZ anodes, and (3) the formation of a dual-phase nano-composite scaffold consisting of a nano protonic conductor network and nano-catalyst, on the internal surface of Ni/YSZ anodes.

Project Benefits

WVU’s surface scaffold architecture will be multi-functional and nano-scaled, facilitated by multiple heterostructured interfaces that will significantly enhance the power density and cell durability. The optimized design of the surface nanostructure could result in a greater power density for commercial operation throughout the entire SOFC operating temperature range of 650 to 800°C, as well as increased durability for long-term operation. Most importantly, the proposed ALD technology is cost-effective and scale-up ready for annual production. It will enhance power density and cell durability by (1) increasing the number of electrochemical reaction sites to enhance hydrogen/hydrocarbon oxidation reactions; (2) promoting internal reforming capabilities, especially for natural gas applications; (3) reducing carbon formation; (4) mitigating the coarsening of backbone Ni phase and the attack of Ni from oxidants; (5) accelerating anode reactions; and (6) decreasing over-potential and mitigating YSZ degradation.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Arun Bose:
Technology Manager Shailesh Vora:
Principal Investigator Xueyan Song:


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