Progetto comune di ricerca

Smart Materials for Electrochemical Cells operating at Intermediate Temperatures

Responsabili di progetto
Massimiliano Lo Faro, Gergana Raikova
BULGARIA - BAS - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
CNR/BAS triennio 2019-2021 2019-2021
Ingegneria, ICT e tecnologie per l'energia e i trasporti
Area tematica
Ingegneria, ICT e tecnologie per l'energia e i trasporti
Stato del progetto

Proposta di ricerca

Fuel cells and hydrogen (FCH) technologies have an important role in the commitment of the European Union to transform its transport and energy systems as part of a low carbon economy following the Strategic Energy Technologies Plan. (SET-Plan) [1]. Its revision in 2016 brought to the development of the package of measures "Clean Energy for All Europeans" where innovative and revolutionary solutions for accumulation of energy from renewables and its regeneration in electricity and heat on demand have a strategic position [2]. In this aspect Solid Oxide Cells (SOC) offer significant opportunities in respect to increased efficiency due to their specific property to be intrinsically reversible, i.e. to operate both in fuel cell and in electrolyzer (EL) mode. However, the main hurdle is the increased degradation rate, especially in El regime [3]. The proposed topic covers today's challenges answering the demands for the development of solutions for accelerated decarbonization with increased efficiency applying innovative approaches by developing smart materials that overcome the existing degradation hurdles. Those materials will be integrated in the fuel electrode of SOC without changing the basic technological procedures which have reached a mature pre-commercial stage [4]. They will be introduced as an anode coating with a promoting layer, which will be active towards catalytic conversion of the organic fuel without the need of water for the reforming process in the case of SOFC and active towards the conversion of H2 and CO to chemicals (methane) at intermediate temperatures in SOEL mode, thus ensuring carbon-neutral energy cycle. In addition the promoting layer will be more tolerant to sulphur contaminants and thermal cycles [5-6].
The selected approach includes combination of bi- and tri- metallic alloys (Sn, Zn, Mo, Ti, Cu, Fe, Co) with doped ceria (cermets) and Ni modifying double-perovskite (Sr1.5La0.5FeMoO6 - LSFM) in order to improve the conversion of fuel to electricity and overall efficiency (SOFC) as well as the quality of the produced gas (chemicals instead of syngas) - direction in which the Italian partners have accumulated expertise.
The collaborative work concerns preparation, characterization and testing of novel materials and realization of short-size cells as proof-of-concept for the demonstration of a device operating at intermediate temperatures for the production of electricity (SOFC) and methane (SOEC). More detailed information is included in the Research Plan. The achievements will be disseminated through publications and presentations at conferences.
For faster development and integration of the new materials and architectures and evaluation of their effect towards increase of stability and lifetime, it is important to understand and quantify the degradation and its mechanisms. However, the accumulation of reliable data requires long term testing. Obviously this is a serious barrier, because the needed testing time is not compatible with that requested for market deployment of the tested products. The accelerated stress tests (AST) which are under introduction in SOFC [7] can shorten the testing time, however, they should activate the same ageing mechanisms as in non-accelerated testing. This is a critical moment in the procedure, since the measured degradation should be transferred to the real-world behavior of the tested system. The risk of test "pre-acceleration" can be decreased and the testing time shortened by increasing the sensitivity and accuracy of the monitoring and diagnostic tools. This approach will be used in this project based on the resent introduction by IEES of an innovative testing methodology, named Differential Resistance Analysis (DRA) [8]. It applies the Differential Resistance Rd extracted from the current-voltage (i-V) characteristics and its time-evolution. The introduction of a spectral transformation procedure additionally increases the noise immunity and sensitivity of the method [9]. The DRA works with new performance indicators which are several times more sensitive to transport and to activation losses recognition than the standard approaches for degradation evaluation due to the application of derivatives which are more sensitive to small changes in the system. In addition electrochemical impedance spectroscopy will be applied in specially selected working points (as the minimum of Rd) for deeper insight into the evaluation of state of health of the system.
The project results will pave the way for a common application in the programs of Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.
1. Towards an Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan: Accelerating the European Energy System Transformation;
2. Clean Energy for All Europeans ( COM(2016) 860 final)
3. J. Laurencin, M. Hubert,D.F. Sanchez,S. Pylypko,M. Morales,A. Morata. Electrochim Acta 2017; 241: 459-76.
4. N.Q. Minh, J. Mizusaki, S.C. Singhal, ECS Transactions, Volume 78, Issue 1, 30 May 2017, Pages 63-73
5. M. Lo Faro, R.M. Reis, G.G.A. Saglietti, A.G. Sato, E.A. Ticianelli, S. C. Zignani, and A.S. Aricò, ChemElectroChem 2014, 1, 1395 - 1402
6. M Lo Faro, RM Reis, GGA Saglietti, VL Oliveira, SC Zignani, S Trocino, S Maisano, EA Ticianelli, N Hodnik, F Ruiz-Zepeda, AS Aricò, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 2018, 220, 98-110
7. SJ Kim, M-B Choi, M Park,H Kim, J-W Son,J-H Lee. J Power Sources 2017;360:284-93.
8. Z. Stoynov, D. Vladikova, B. Burdin, J. Laurencin, D. Montinaro, Ar. Nakajo, P. Piccardo, Al. Thorel, M. Hubert, R. Spotorno, A. Chesnaud. MRS Advances, Cambridge University Press, 2017, DOI:10.1557/adv.2017.592.
9. D. Vladikova, P. Zoltowski, E. Makowska,Z. Stoynov, Electrochim Acta 2002;47:2943-51.

Obiettivi della ricerca

The collaboration between the Italian and the Bulgarian group started in 2014 when BAS represented by the Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems became a member of the European Energy Research Alliance- Joint Program "Fuel Cells and Hydrogen" and Member of Hydrogen Europe Research in the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. The two institutions - IEES and National Research Council - Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies "Nicola Giordano" (CNR-ITAE) started active collaboration based on the common research topics in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells. The application for a joint research project in the frames of 2018-2020 BAS-CNR collaboration aims at: (i) reinforcing the collaboration combining the expertise of the two groups in two important and complementary fields concerning reversible solid oxide fuel cells" (1) development and integration of new smart materials and (2) advanced electrochemical testing, monitoring and in operando evaluation of state of health which is of prime importance for accelerated market evaluation of new approaches for materials architecture; (ii) common education and training of junior scientists (Ph.D. students and Post. Docs) and exchange of staff for "training on the spot"; (iii) preparation of a proposal for a common project in FCH JU calls (AWPs 20/21).

Ultimo aggiornamento: 27/06/2022