EFFIPRO will develop electrolytes and electrodes for proton conducting fuel cells (PCFCs) based on novel LaNbO4-type and similar proton conducting oxides that, unlike earlier candidates, are chemically stable and mechanically robust. The transport of H+ makes water form on the cathode side, avoiding fuel dilution and recycling and reducing risk of destructive anode oxidation, even at peak power. Moreover, the high operating temperature (e.g. 600 °C) alleviates recycling of liquid water and coolants, and provides efficient heat exchange with heat grids or fossil fuel reformers. All these give PCFCs major benefits in fuel utilisation, overall efficiency, and system simplicity with reformed fossil fuels as well as hydrogen from renewables. However, the proton conductivities of candidate materials are insufficient, and the project aims to improve proton conductivity through doping strategies and interface engineering, investigating new classes of stable proton conducting oxides, and developing technologies for thin film electrolytes on suitable substrates. Novel cathodes will be devised, all to bring area-specific electrolyte and interface resistances down to 0.2 Ωcm2 each within this first project. New production routes of precursors and materials are included, as well as surface kinetics research and cost reduction by mischmetal strategies. The project is accompanied by complementary national initiatives and projects e.g. on fundamental characterisation and interconnects. Novel PCFC technology involves high risk and long term research that needs concerted action from many actors including the emerging nano-ionics field. It is the aim that PCFCs by 2020 will be available, accelerate the use of fuel cells, reduce CO2 emissions, and increase efficiency by 10 % where applied, promote the hydrogen society, and be a dominating fuel cell technology. The project counts 7 partners in 5 countries, with leadership and PCFC dedication. It lasts 3 years and educates/trains 5 PhD/post-docs.
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