Lowering to intermediate temperatures (<750 oC) the functioning regime of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), and their operation by directly oxidizing fuels, are important objectives from the economic, environmental and energy efficiency points of view.
Here a proposal is made to study new formulations for the anodes in these cells in order to overcome the deactivation problems observed in the case of anodes using nickel (due mainly to carbon deposition) and to improve the efficiency of the anodes based in C u-CeO2 composites, which are more efficient for achieving this goal.
The objective is to develop composites of mixed oxides (Ce-Zr, Ce-Sm, Ce-Gd, Ce-Tb, Ce-Ca and derived ternary ones) based in the cerium oxide structure and copper alloys (e.g. with Fe and Ni) to improve the catalytic activity of the anode and the thermal stability of the copper subsystem against sintering.
We propose a complete set of tasks including the materials preparation (using in the mixed oxide synthesis methods like the microemulsion-based ones for obtaining nanoparticles with maximum structural homogeneity), their physico-chemical characterization (using techniques as diffraction and electron microscopy and several spectroscopies, both ex-situ -mainly EPR, IR, Raman HREM and XPS- and under reaction conditions -XANES/EXAFS and DRIFTS-) and the measurement of their electrical properties and chemical and catalytic activities for the oxidation of several fuels (hydrogen, hydrocarbons -methane, long chain linear ones, aromatics- or alcohols), paying particular attention to their deactivation and using kinetic measurements for the study of the reaction mechanisms.
Finally, full single-cells will be prepared integrating the thus developed anodes with latest generation ceramic electrolytes an d cathode materials, measuring their electrochemical behaviour and their energetic efficiency under configurations and operational modes typical for intermediate temperature systems.
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