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Alternative anode materials for solid oxide fuel cells


Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) are electrochemical reactors that can directly convert a chemical fuel to electrical power with high efficiency and in an environmentally friendly way. The direct utilization of hydrocarbons (e.g. natural gas) without externa l reforming represents one of the key advantages which makes SOFC, amongst other fuel cell systems, potentially more competitive within the present energy systems. Currently the most commonly used anode materials are Ni/YSZ cermet, which exhibits excellent electrocatalytic activity for fuel oxidation and good current collection. However, it also shows some serious problems, e.g. Ni-grain agglomeration, carbon deposition, sulfur poisoning, red-ox instability, toxicity of nickel. The scientific objective of the proposed IIF project is to develop alternative new anode materials for SOFCs to overcome problems with the state-of-the-art Ni-based anode material. In this project, various oxides with perovskite structures will be explored as novel alternative anode materials for SOFCs. New material systems or new material design strategies will be applied in this project to find satisfactory materials. Reasonable candidate materials are Sr and high-level Mn substituted LaCrO3 and LaAIO3-based perovskites. The latter material has never been considered as an anode material before. Through appropriate doping at Ai-site with transition metal elements, it is anticipated to improve the mixed ionic/electronic conductivity. Dr. Fu from China has 6 years of experience on the materials development for SOFCs. He is already working as a guest scientist in the host institute for half a year on the topic of the proposed project. Therefore he is expected to make fruitful contribution to this project. The participation in this projec t will also promote him to grow up into an independent researcher. He is envisaged to become a group leader in China after enriching his careerexperience in Europe in the next 2-4 years.

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