Unraveling the Role of Transport, Electrocatalysis, and Surface Science in the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathode Oxygen Reduction Reaction Email Page
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Performer:  Trustees of Boston University Location:  Boston, Massachusetts
Project Duration:  10/01/2012 – 09/30/2015 Award Number:  FE0009656
Technology Area:  Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Total Award Value:  $632,354
Key Technology:  Anode-Electrolyte-Cathode Development DOE Share:  $499,999
Performer Share:  $132,355

Basic LSCF structure for DFT calculations.
Basic LSCF structure for DFT calculations.

Project Description

The overall goal of this Boston University project is to deepen the fundamental knowledge and understanding of solid oxide fuel cell interfaces and to employ such understanding to greatly improve electrochemical performance while meeting SECA cost, stability, and lifetime targets at the cell level. Boston University plans to employ newer cathode and electrocatalyst materials and a variety of experimental and computational tools to achieve this goal. 

The specific objectives include: (i) Separating and identifying the influence of oxygen surface adsorption, transport pathways, electron transfer reaction, and incorporation into the electrolyte in the overall oxygen reduction reaction; (ii) Identifying the role and time evolution of the cathode surface and buried layer interface structure, surface electronic properties, surface composition, and the oxidation state of the transition metal ions during the oxygen reduction process; (iii) Using new materials combinations and architectures based on the knowledge gained from (i) and (ii), demonstrate a 50 percent improvement in performance in maximum power densities of cells compared to baseline cells employing state-of-the art materials and cell stability that shows 0.1 percent or less per 1000 hours degradation in cell performance.

Project Benefits

This project focuses on improving cell power density and reducing the cell degradation rate by developing newer cathode and electrocatalyst materials. 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 employ a combination of experimental and computational tools to probe the surface composition and oxidations states, measure surface exchange and diffusion coefficients of cathode materials, use experimental and theoretical research on thin film cathodes to narrow the choice of newer cathode materials and composition, fabricate and test single cells using selected cathode materials and composition, characterize the microstructure of the cells, and optimize materials choice and cathode microstructure.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Patcharin Burke: patcharin.burke@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager Shailesh Vora: shailesh.vora@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator Srikanth Gopalan: sgopalan@bu.edu