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[en] The anion exchange membrane fuel cell (AEMFC) is an attractive alternative to acidic proton exchange membrane fuel cells, which to date have required platinum-based catalysts, as well as acid-tolerant stack hardware. The AEMFC could use non-platinum-group metal catalysts and less expensive metal hardware thanks to the high pH of the electrolyte. Over the last decade, substantial progress has been made in improving the performance and durability of the AEMFC through the development of new materials and the optimization of system design and operation conditions. Here in this perspective article, we describe the current status of AEMFCs as having reached beginning of life performance very close to that of PEMFCs when using ultra-low loadings of Pt, while advancing towards operation on non-platinum-group metal catalysts alone. In the latter sections, we identify the remaining technical challenges, which require further research and development, focusing on the materials and operational factors that critically impact AEMFC performance and/or durability. Finally, these perspectives may provide useful insights for the development of next-generation of AEMFCs.
[en] High-temperature X-ray diffraction has been used to investigate the phase stability of lanthanum strontium cobalt oxide (LSC) for a range of materials with the formula La1-xSrxCoO3-(delta) (x = 0.7, 0.4, and 0.2). The stability of LSC increases with La content in low oxygen partial pressures at high temperature. Oxygen vacancy ordering has been observed for all three compositions in either low oxygen pressure or under reducing gas, as evidenced by the formation of the brownmillerite phase. The crystal structure of the vacancy-ordered phase was determined using Rietveld analysis of synchrotron X-ray diffraction data. The decomposition products under low oxygen pressure and in reducing conditions have been identified and characterized, including the phase transition and thermal expansion of the primary decomposition products, LaSrCoO4 and LaSrCoO3.5.
[en] The efficiency of glass-ceramic sealants plays a crucial role in Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell performance and durability. In order to develop suitable sealants, operating around 800 degrees C, two parent glass compositions, CAS1B and CAS2B, from the CaO-Al2O3-SiO2-B2O3 system were prepared and explored. The thermal and physicochemical properties of the glass ceramics and their crystallization behavior were investigated by HSM. DTA and XRD analyses. The microstructure and chemical compositions of the crystalline phases were investigated by microprobe analysis. Bonding characteristic as well as chemical interactions of the parent glass with yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte and ferritic steel-based interconnect (Crofere (R)) were also investigated. The preliminary results revealed the superiority of CAS2B glass for sealing application in SOECs. The effect of minor additions of V2O5, K2O and TiO2 on the thermal properties was also studied and again demonstrated the advantages of the CAS2B glass composition. Examining the influence of heat treatment on the seal behavior showed that the choice of the heating rate is a compromise between delaying the crystallization process and delaying the viscosity drop. The thermal Expansion Coefficients (TEC) obtained for the selected glass ceramic are within the desired range after the heat treatment of crystallization. The crystallization kinetic parameters of the selected glass composition were also determined under non-isothermal conditions by means of differential thermal analysis (DTA) and using the formal theory of transformations for heterogeneous nucleation. (authors)
[en] Microstructural evolution of a Solid Oxide Electrolyser Cell (SOEC) Ni-YSZ cermet cathode is investigated using three dimensional electrode characterisations. 3D reconstructions are obtained on a reference and two long-term tested cells, which were maintained at 0.5 and 0.8 A cm"-"2 for 1000 h at 800 C. During the long term tests, air was fed at the anode and a mixture of 10% H_2-90% H_2O was fed at the cathode. In this framework, reconstructions have been obtained from synchrotron X-ray nano-tomography technique. Microstructural properties extracted from the 3D reconstructions exhibit an evolution during the tests. Triple Phase Boundary length is decreasing from 10.49 ± 1.18 μm"-"2 for the reference cell to 6.18 ± 0.6 μm"-"2 for the long term tested cell at - 0.8 A cm"-"2. Evolutions of morphological parameters were introduced in an in-house multi-scale model to evaluate their impacts on the electrode degradation, and hence, on the global SOEC performance. (authors)
[en] Recent advances in battery science and technology have triggered both the challenges and opportunities on studying the materials and interfaces in batteries. In this paper, we review the recent demonstrations of soft X-ray spectroscopy for studying the interfaces and electrode materials. The focus of this review is on the recently developed mapping of resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (mRIXS) as a powerful probe of battery chemistry with superior sensitivity. Six different channels of soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy (sXAS) are introduced for different experimental purposes. Although conventional sXAS channels remain effective tools for quantitative analysis of the transition-metal states and surface chemistry, we elaborate the limitations of sXAS in both cationic and anionic redox studies. Particularly, based on experimental findings in various electrodes, we show that sXAS is unreliable for studying oxygen redox. We then demonstrate the mRIXS as a reliable technique for fingerprinting oxygen redox and summarize several crucial observations. We conclude that mRIXS is the tool-of-choice to study both the practical issue on reversibility of oxygen redox and the fundamental nature of bulk oxygen states. Finally, we hope this review clarifies the popular misunderstanding on oxygen sXAS results of oxide electrodes, and establishes a reliable technique for detecting oxygen redox through mRIXS.
[en] This work reports the first account of perovskite oxide and carbon composite oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts integrated into anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs). Perovskite oxides with a theoretical stoichiometry of Ca0.9La0.1Al0.1Mn0.9O3-δ are synthesized by an aerogel method and calcined at various temperatures, resulting in a set of materials with varied surface chemistry and surface area. Material composition is evaluated by X-ray diffraction, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The perovskite oxide calcined at 800 degrees C shows the importance of balance between surface area, purity of the perovskite phase, and surface composition, resulting in the highest ORR mass activity when evaluated in rotating disk electrodes. Integration of this catalyst into AEMFCs reveals that the best AEMFC performance is obtained when using composites with 30:70 perovskite oxide:carbon composition. Doubling the loading leads to an increase in the power density from 30 to 76 mW cm-2. The AEMFC prepared with a composite based on perovskite oxide and N-carbon achieves a power density of 44 mW cm-2, demonstrating an ~50% increase when compared to the highest performing composite with undoped carbon at the same loading.
[en] Battery thermal barriers are reviewed with regards to extreme fast charging. Present-day thermal management systems for battery electric vehicles are inadequate in limiting the maximum temperature rise of the battery during extreme fast charging. If the battery thermal management system is not designed correctly, the temperature of the cells could reach abuse temperatures and potentially send the cells into thermal runaway. Furthermore, the cell and battery interconnect design needs to be improved to meet the lifetime expectations of the consumer. Each of these aspects is explored and addressed as well as outlining where the heat is generated in a cell, the efficiencies of power and energy cells, and what type of battery thermal management solutions are available in today’s market. Here, thermal management is not a limiting condition with regard to extreme fast charging, but many factors need to be addressed especially for future high specific energy density cells to meet U.S. Department of Energy cost and volume goals.
[en] The ability to charge battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on a time scale that is on par with the time to fuel an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) would remove a significant barrier to the adoption of BEVs. However, for viability, fast charging at this time scale needs to also occur at a price that is acceptable to consumers. Therefore, the cost drivers for both BEV owners and charging station providers are analyzed. In addition, key infrastructure considerations are examined, including grid stability and delivery of power, the design of fast charging stations and the design and use of electric vehicle service equipment. Each of these aspects have technical barriers that need to be addressed, and are directly linked to economic impacts to use and implementation. Here, this discussion focuses on both the economic and infrastructure issues which exist and need to be addressed for the effective implementation of fast charging up to 350 kW. In doing so, it has been found that there is a distinct need to effectively manage the intermittent, high power demand of fast charging, strategically plan infrastructure corridors, and to further understand the cost of operation of charging infrastructure and BEVs.