"Alarming environmental concerns and the decline of supply of relatively cheap crude oil in the next decade signal an end to the era of fossil fuel utilisation for energy production and call urgently for revolutionary advances in alternative energy sources . Among other possibilities hydrogen is the ideal fuel and fuel cells are one of the most attractive energy conversion devices. The major research and development obstacles are the high cost in catalyst loading, corrosion and poisoning of electrodes and components and severe demands on electrolyte properties. Our proposal focuses on a neutron-scattering study joint to atomistic modelling of the proton dynamics in yttrium-doped barium cerate (BCY), a solid electrolyte. Further step is the interaction with a team of fuel-cell prototyping and testing. BCY is known for its high protonic and low electronic conductivity at ~800°C, a temperature acceptable for industrial power generation to onboard vehicle applications and suitable for fuel-cell operation without noble metal catalysts. Our experimental approach builds on the exceptional sensitivity of neutrons to hydrogen (via incoherent scattering) for proton-diffusion study and the high contrasts among the elements in BCY (via coherent scattering) for structural characterization of the system. We propose to use 1) the QENS spectrometer (IPNS-ANL) for its unique capability of concurrent data collection of diffraction and quasi-elastic to elastic scattering, 2) the pulsed-source chopper spectrometer HRMECS (IPNS-ANL) for access to the high energy transfer range to probe the phonon and local modes involving hydrogen and 3) MIBEMOL multi-chopper spectrometer (LLB) for its high energy-resolution and neutron flux for detailed quasi-elastic scattering. The proposed wor k aims at the training of the fellow in two world-standard neutron facilities and exposing him to the interaction between 3 groups of experts to address a research topic of primary importance."
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