In-Operando (While in Operation) Evaluation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathodes for Enhanced Oxygen Reduction Reaction Activity and Durability


In-operando Isotope Exchange (IOIE) consisting of<br/>specially designed flow reactor connected to mass spectrometer.
In-operando Isotope Exchange (IOIE) consisting of
specially designed flow reactor connected to mass spectrometer.
University of Maryland
Website:  University of Maryland
Award Number:  FE0026190
Project Duration:  10/01/2015 – 07/31/2017
Total Award Value:  $250,000
DOE Share:  $200,000
Performer Share:  $50,000
Technology Area:  Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Key Technology:  Core Technology
Location:  College Park, Maryland

Project Description

The University of Maryland (UMD) will experimentally collect data under real working conditions to achieve solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) performance optimization, especially with respect to extended service time. The work will develop novel in-operando isotope exchange apparatuses for the investigation of the oxygen surface exchange properties of SOFC cathode materials and structures that will allow the selection of enhanced cathode compositions and structures. Using in-operando techniques, researchers will quantify oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) kinetic rates and mechanisms as a function of cathode composition, gas environment, and applied cell bias to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the ORR properties of cathode materials as a function of cathode composition for lanthanum strontium manganite (LSM) and lanthanum strontium cobalt iron oxide (LSCF) powders and their composites with yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) and gadolinia doped ceria (GDC). UMD will also use two in-operando techniques to develop a unifying theory for the numerous surface exchange coefficients in the literature to strengthen the link between fundamental kinetic studies and real world cathode performance. This project leverages research from a previous DOE contract, DE-FE0009084.

Project Benefits

The ability to study ORR kinetics, including exchange coefficients and mechanisms, with respect to operational conditions of applied voltage or current bias, has key advantages in "real-time" simulation over other current techniques. The UMD research targets the critical issue of in-operando ORR investigations—in combination with other important factors such as contaminants and dopants—by engineering two new setups for this purpose: studying commercial SOFC materials and integrating the results toward producing functional devices. Successful completion of this research will yield a fundamental understanding of cathode oxygen reduction mechanisms over a broad range of cathode materials including LSM, LSCF, and their composites with YSZ and GDC.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Arun Bose:
Technology Manager 
Shailesh Vora:
Principal Investigator 
Eric Wachsman:

Click to view Presentations, Papers, and Publications