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Fundamental Chemistry and Physics of Direct-Electrochemical Oxidation in Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells

Principal Investigator(s): 


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The UMD research team is exploring fundamental experimental efforts to reveal mechanistic information about the electrochemical oxidation of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon-derived syngas in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC’s). Conventional porous cermet anodes and microfabricated anodes in electrolyte supported cells are being used with in situ Raman spectroscopy, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and ex situ anode characterization to develop qualitative and quantitative assessment of mechanisms and processes impacting the rates of electrochemical oxidation in SOFC’s. To assist in quantitative mechanism development, UMD has developed modeling tools to evaluate microkinetic detailed surface mechanisms as well as surface diffusion.

The objectives of the UMD experimental program can be summarized as follows:

  • provide mechanistic information using microfabricated patterned anodes for the electrochemical oxidation of simple fuels (H2, CO, CH4) expected to be key species derived from catalytic and homogeneous reactions of heavier hydrocarbon fuels
  • investigate impact of anode and electrolyte material combinations (Ni/YSZ, Cu/CeOx/YSZ, Au/YSZ) on electrochemical oxidation kinetics of H2, CO, and small hydrocarbons,
  • implement in situ surface spectroscopy (Raman, XPS) to inform physiochemical mechanisms on electrochemical oxidation of selected fuels.