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Advanced nanocomposites for energy conversion technology

Fuel cells (FCs), as an efficient conversion technology, can help Europe get passed its energy and environmental challenges. An EU-funded initiative has addressed the various issues restricting the further development of this promising technology.
Advanced nanocomposites for energy conversion technology
In recent years, the advancement and subsequent commercialisation and rollout of FC technology has been hampered by several bottlenecks. To deal with this issue, the NANO-FCSC (Engineering of nanocomposites for a new energy conversion device joining fuel cell and solar cell) project set out to explore a new development route for current FC technology through the use of nanotechnology, particularly advanced nanocomposite materials.

Project partners prepared, characterised and tested nanocomposites for a novel energy conversion technology that combines the principle of FCs and solar cells. They also investigated scientific principles and device mechanisms, including ion and electron transport.

Work began by studying new effective composite materials that can be used for single component fuel cells. For this purpose, industrial-grade rare-earth (LCP) and perovskite oxide (LSCF) were fabricated and investigated. Project partners investigated and characterised their microstructure, morphology and electrical properties. They modulated various ratios of LCP to LSCF in the composite to achieve balanced ionic and electronic conductivities. This enables FC and solar cell devices to perform better. FCs with an optimum ratio reached the highest open circuit voltage and a maximum power density while also displaying good performance stability. The high performance is a result of the interfacial mechanisms and electrode catalytic effects.

The NANO-FCSC team discovered that the Schottky junction has a significant impact on FCs, particularly device performance. FC devices incorporating the Schottky junction attain high power output. In addition, it offers advantages such as simplicity, a light weight, and low-cost materials and technology.

Lastly, scientists designed and developed a novel device that converts hydrogen fuel into electricity while achieving a stable power output.

NANO-FCSC introduced a promising new material, opening up new avenues for FC and innovative energy technologies while accelerating FC commercialisation.

Related information

Keywords

Advanced nanocomposites, energy conversion, fuel cells, NANO-FCSC, solar cell
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