Project No: FE0009652
Performer: Georgia Tech Research Corporation


Contacts

Shailesh Vora
Technology Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
626 Cochrans Mill Road
P.O. Box 10940, MS 922-204
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940
(412) 386-7515
shailesh.vora@netl.doe.gov

Joseph Stoffa
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880, MS PO3B
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
(304) 285-0285
joseph.stoffa@netl.doe.gov

Meilin Liu
Principal Investigator
Georgia Tech Research Corporation
School of Materials Science and Engineering
771 Ferst Drive
Atlanta, GA 30332
(404) 894-6114
meilin.liu@gatech.edu

Duration
Award Date:  09/20/2012
Project Date:  09/19/2015

Cost
DOE Share: $500,000.00
Performer Share: $125,000.00
Total Award Value: $625,000.00

Performer website: Georgia Tech Research Corporation - http://www.gatech.edu

Advanced Energy Systems - Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Fundamental Investigators and Rational Design of Durable, High-Performance Cathode Materials

Project Description

The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) will use specially-designed electrodes and cells, such as electrodes of thin films and patterned electrodes, to study the electrochemical response of lanthanum strontium cobalt ferrite (LSCF) cathodes under realistic operating conditions (ROC), to probe and map contaminants on the LSCF, and to characterize the correlation between electrochemical performance and microstructure/morphology of LSCF cathodes as well as their evolution over time. A range of characterization tools will be used to study the chemical and structural changes during fuel cell operation. Electrochemical techniques, such as impedance and DC polarization, will be intensively applied to characterize the cathode performance, which will be correlated with the structural and compositional evolution of the LSCF cathode under ROC. Proper characterization, modeling techniques, and prediction tools will be used to help in formulating an effective strategy to mitigate the stability issues and predict new catalyst materials that can enhance the stability of LSCF. Finally, the performance and stability of the modified LSCF cathode will be validated in commercially available cells under ROC.



Program Background and Project Benefits

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is developing the next generation of efficient fossil fuel technologies capable of producing affordable electric power with near-zero emissions. The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) program at DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is focused on developing low-cost, highly efficient SOFC power systems that are capable of simultaneously producing electric power, from either natural gas or coal, with carbon capture capabilities. Research is directed towards the technologies that are critical to the commercialization of SOFC technology. To successfully complete the development of SOFC technology from the present state to the point of commercial readiness, the SOFC Program efforts are aligned into three Key Technologies:

(1) Anode, Cathode, and Electrolyte (AEC) Development
(2) Atmospheric Pressure Systems
(3) Pressurized Systems

The AEC Development Key Technology is R&D in nature whereas the other two, Atmospheric Pressure Systems and Pressurized Systems, are focused on the development, demonstration, and deployment of SOFC power systems.

The AEC Development Key Technology consists of projects that will lead to substantially improved power density, enhanced performance, reduced degradation rate, and more reliable and robust systems. Research is focused on the technologies critical to the commercialization of SOFC technology, such as cathode performance, gas seals, interconnects, failure analysis, coal contaminants, fuel processing, and balance-of-plant components. Research is conducted at universities, national laboratories, small businesses, and other R&D organizations.

This project focuses on characterizing the degradation mechanism of lanthanum strontium cobalt ferrite (LSCF) cathodes under realistic operating conditions (ROC), aiming to establish the scientific basis for the design of new materials and electrode structures to mitigate stability issues. Improved cell/stack life and performance will reduce operating cost and increase efficiency, resulting in reduction in the cost of electricity and reduction of CO2 emissions from the entire platform. Specifically, this project will characterize and correlate the microstructure, morphology, and chemistry behavior of LSCF cathodes with their electrochemical behavior under ROC and suggest new cathode materials through modeling and simulation.


Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level

The objective of the proposed work is to systematically characterize the degradation mechanism of lanthanum strontium cobalt ferrite (LSCF) cathodes under realistic operating conditions (ROC). The scope encompasses research necessary establish the scientific basis for rational design of new SOFC materials and electrode structures to mitigate the stability issues caused by the contaminants commonly encountered under ROC. The microstructure, morphology, and chemistry of LSCF cathodes will be carefully characterized and correlated with their electrochemical behavior under ROC to unravel the degradation mechanism. In particular, in situ and ex situ characterization of surface morphology and topography via atomic force microscopy, surface species via Raman spectroscopy, and surface phases via X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy will be performed as a function of time. The well-defined cathode configuration will provide a unique platform for morphology observation, composition analysis, and in situ characterization. The resulting mechanistic understanding will guide the formulation of an effective strategy to mitigate the stability issues. Then multi-scale modeling and simulation will be used to suggest new cathode materials for experimental verification.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment identifies the current state of readiness of the key technologies being developed under the DOE’s Clean Coal Research Program. In FY 12, this project was not assessed.

The TRL assessment process and its results including definition and description of the levels may be found in the "2012 Technology Readiness Assessment-Analysis of Active Research Portfolio".