Special Issue "Emerging Materials and Fabrication Methods for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Advanced Energy Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Bahman Amini Horri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical & Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
Interests: solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysers; hydrogen production and energy system optimisation; ceramic nanocomposites; energy materials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to invite you to submit the results of your recent studies in the field of “Emerging Materials and Fabrication Methods for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells” to a Special Issue of Energies.

Today, the ever-increasing energy demand and the tightening regulations for emissions control have caused a great interest in developing more efficient power generation systems. Amongst various types of fuel cells, the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is considered as one of the most promising alternative techniques for developing prospective portable and stationary power systems. This is mainly because of the high energy conversion efficiency, diverse fuel versatility, great heat integration capability, acceptable power density, and environmentally friendly operability associated with the SOFC operation. Unlike other types of fuel cells, SOFCs do not require precious metals to operate and can, instead, efficiently work with Ni, Cu, Co, and other cheap and widely available transition and alkaline earth metals.

Currently, yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) is the state-of-the-art material used for fabrication of SOFCs. However, addressing the contemporary operational and fabrication requirements, such as shifting from electrolyte-supported to anode-supported geometry, lowering the operational temperature, and developing thin films and bi-layered electrolytes, necessitates the development of more robust materials for SOFCs.

Therefore, the focus of this Special Issue of Energies will be on development of alternative SOFC materials and novel techniques for the fabrication of SOFCs. The key topics covered by this Special Issue include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Nanostructured SOFC composites (e.g. nanorods, nanowires, nanotubes, etc.)
  • Nanocrystalline SOFC powders and ceramic nanocomposites
  • Novel electrolytes materials and superionic mixed composites for SOFCs
  • Low-temperature SOFC/SOEC materials
  • Synthesis and characteristics of the SOFC anode, electrolyte, and cathode nanocomposites
  • Microstructural improvement of the SOFC supporting layers
  • Mixed ionic–electronic ceramic composites
  • Novel fabrication methods and stack design techniques
  • SOFC electrochemical performance and impedance analysis
  • Novel supporting metals for metal-supported SOFCs

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Nanoenergy Advances.

Dr. Bahman Amini Horri
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • solid oxide fuel cells
  • SOFC
  • ceramic nanocomposites
  • nanocrystalline SOFC powders
  • superionic electrolytes
  • low-temperature SOFCs
  • SOFC anodes
  • SOFC cathode composites
  • SOFC fabrication methods
  • metal-supported SOFCs
  • stack design
  • SOFC performance analysis

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Chemical Degradation of the La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3−δ/Ce0.8Sm0.2O2−δ Interface during Sintering and Cell Operation
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3674; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123674 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
A complete cell consisting of NiO-Ce0.8Sm0.2O3−δ//Ce0.8Sm0.2O3−δ//(La0.6Sr0.4)0.95Co0.2Fe0.8O3−δ elaborated by a co-tape casting and co-sintering process and tested in operating fuel cell [...] Read more.
A complete cell consisting of NiO-Ce0.8Sm0.2O3−δ//Ce0.8Sm0.2O3−δ//(La0.6Sr0.4)0.95Co0.2Fe0.8O3−δ elaborated by a co-tape casting and co-sintering process and tested in operating fuel cell conditions exhibited a strong degradation in performance over time. Study of the cathode–electrolyte interface after cell testing showed, on one hand, the diffusion of lanthanum from (La0.6Sr0.4)0.95Co0.2Fe0.8O3−δ into Sm-doped ceria leading to a La- and Sm-doped ceria phase. On the other hand, Ce and Sm diffused into the perovskite phase of the cathode. The grain boundaries appear to be the preferred pathways of the cation diffusion. Furthermore, a strontium enrichment was clearly observed both in the (La0.6Sr0.4)0.95Co0.2Fe0.8O3−δ layer and at the interface with electrolyte. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) indicates that this Sr-rich phase corresponded to SrCO3. These different phenomena led to a chemical degradation of materials and interfaces, explaining the decrease in electrochemical performance. Full article
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Article
Facile Synthesis of Lanthanum Strontium Cobalt Ferrite (LSCF) Nanopowders Employing an Ion-Exchange Promoted Sol-Gel Process
Energies 2021, 14(7), 1800; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14071800 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
The perovskite nanopowders of lanthanum strontium cobalt ferrite (LSCF) have been synthesized using the alginate mediated ion-exchange process. This perovskite-based material is a promising cathode for intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (IT-SOFCs) due to its high electrical conductivity, low polarizability, high catalytic activity [...] Read more.
The perovskite nanopowders of lanthanum strontium cobalt ferrite (LSCF) have been synthesized using the alginate mediated ion-exchange process. This perovskite-based material is a promising cathode for intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (IT-SOFCs) due to its high electrical conductivity, low polarizability, high catalytic activity for oxygen reduction, enhanced chemical stability at an elevated temperature in high oxygen potential environment and high compatibility with the ceria based solid electrolytes. Phase pure LSCF 6428, LSCF 6455, and LSCF 6482 corresponding to La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3-δ, La0.6Sr0.4Co0.5Fe0.5O3-δ, and La0.6Sr0.4Co0.8Fe0.2O3-δ, respectively were successfully synthesized. The simultaneous thermal analysis (DSC-TGA) and XRD were used to determine the optimum calcination temperature for the dried ion-exchanged beads. Single phase nanopowders of LSCF (6428, 6455, and 6482) have been successfully prepared at a calcination temperature of 700 °C. The TGA analysis showed that every ton of LSCF-ALG dried beads can potentially yield 360 kg of LSCF nanopowders suggesting a potential for scaling-up of the process of manufacturing nanopowders of LSCF. Full article
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Article
High Channel Density Ceramic Microchannel Reactor for Syngas Production
Energies 2020, 13(23), 6472; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13236472 - 07 Dec 2020
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Solid oxide fuel cells can operate with carbonaceous fuels, such as syngas, biogas, and methane, using either internal or external reforming, and they represent a more efficient alternative to internal combustion engines. In this work, we explore, for the first time, an alumina [...] Read more.
Solid oxide fuel cells can operate with carbonaceous fuels, such as syngas, biogas, and methane, using either internal or external reforming, and they represent a more efficient alternative to internal combustion engines. In this work, we explore, for the first time, an alumina membrane containing straight, highly packed (461,289 cpsi), parallel channels of a few micrometers (21 µm) in diameter as a microreformer. As a model reaction to test the performance of this membrane, the dry reforming of methane was carried out using nickel metal and a composite nickel/ceria as catalysts. The samples with intact microchannels were more resistant to carbon deposition than those with a powdered sample, highlighting the deactivation mitigation effect of the microchannel structure. The coke content in the microchannel membrane was one order of magnitude lower than in the powder catalyst. Overall, this work is a proof of concept on the use of composite alumina membrane as microchannel reactors for high temperature reactions. Full article
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Article
The Role of Bi-Polar Plate Design and the Start-Up Protocol in the Spatiotemporal Dynamics during Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Anode Reduction
Energies 2020, 13(14), 3552; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13143552 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 982
Abstract
Start-up conditions largely dictate the performance longevity for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The SOFC anode is typically deposited as NiO-ceramic that is reduced to Ni-ceramic during start-up. Effective reduction is imperative to ensuring that the anode is electrochemically active and able to [...] Read more.
Start-up conditions largely dictate the performance longevity for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The SOFC anode is typically deposited as NiO-ceramic that is reduced to Ni-ceramic during start-up. Effective reduction is imperative to ensuring that the anode is electrochemically active and able to produce electronic and ionic current; the bi-polar plates (BPP) next to the anode allow the transport of current and gases, via land and channels, respectively. This study investigates a commercial SOFC stack that failed following a typical start-up procedure. The BPP design was found to substantially affect the spatiotemporal dynamics of the anode reduction; Raman spectroscopy detected electrochemically inactive NiO on the anode surface below the BPP land-contacts; X-ray computed tomography (CT) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) identified associated contrasts in the electrode porosity, confirming the extension of heterogeneous features beyond the anode surface, towards the electrolyte-anode interface. Failure studies such as this are important for improving statistical confidence in commercial SOFCs and ultimately their competitiveness within the mass-market. Moreover, the spatiotemporal information presented here may aid in the development of novel BPP design and improved reduction protocol methods that minimize cell and stack strain, and thus maximize cell longevity. Full article
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Review

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Review
Progress in Material Development for Low-Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: A Review
Energies 2021, 14(5), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14051280 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1104
Abstract
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have been considered as promising candidates to tackle the need for sustainable and efficient energy conversion devices. However, the current operating temperature of SOFCs poses critical challenges relating to the costs of fabrication and materials selection. To overcome [...] Read more.
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have been considered as promising candidates to tackle the need for sustainable and efficient energy conversion devices. However, the current operating temperature of SOFCs poses critical challenges relating to the costs of fabrication and materials selection. To overcome these issues, many attempts have been made by the SOFC research and manufacturing communities for lowering the operating temperature to intermediate ranges (600–800 °C) and even lower temperatures (below 600 °C). Despite the interesting success and technical advantages obtained with the low-temperature SOFC, on the other hand, the cell operation at low temperature could noticeably increase the electrolyte ohmic loss and the polarization losses of the electrode that cause a decrease in the overall cell performance and energy conversion efficiency. In addition, the electrolyte ionic conductivity exponentially decreases with a decrease in operating temperature based on the Arrhenius conduction equation for semiconductors. To address these challenges, a variety of materials and fabrication methods have been developed in the past few years which are the subject of this critical review. Therefore, this paper focuses on the recent advances in the development of new low-temperature SOFCs materials, especially low-temperature electrolytes and electrodes with improved electrochemical properties, as well as summarizing the matching current collectors and sealants for the low-temperature region. Different strategies for improving the cell efficiency, the impact of operating variables on the performance of SOFCs, and the available choice of stack designs, as well as the costing factors, operational limits, and performance prospects, have been briefly summarized in this work. Full article
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