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Nanostructuring the electronic conducting La0.8Sr0.2MnO3−δ cathode for high-performance in proton-conducting solid oxide fuel cells below 600oC

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  • ReceivedJul 5, 2017
  • AcceptedSep 18, 2017
  • PublishedOct 26, 2017

Abstract

Proton-conducting oxides offer a promising electrolyte solution for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) due to their high conductivity and low activation energy. However, the lower operation temperature leads to a reduced cathode activity and thus a poorer fuel cell performance. La0.8Sr0.2MnO3−δ (LSM) is the classical cathode material for high-temperature SOFCs, which lack features as a proper SOFC cathode material at intermediate temperatures. Despite this, we here successfully couple nanostructured LSM cathode with proton-conducting electrolytes to operate below 600oC with desirable SOFC performance. Inkjet printing allows depositing nanostructured particles of LSM on Y-doped BaZrO3 (BZY) backbones as cathodes for proton-conducting SOFCs, which provides one of the highest power output for the BZY-based fuel cells below 600oC. This somehow changes the common knowledge that LSM can be applied as a SOFC cathode materials only at high temperatures (above 700oC).


Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51602238)

the Thousand Talents Plan.


Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51602238) and the Thousand Talents Plan.


Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Contributions statement

Daʹas EH performed most of the experiments under the supervision of Boulfrad S (materials ink-jet processing) and Bi L (electrochemical measurements). Bi L and Traversa E conceived and directed the project, and wrote the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript.


Author information

Eman Husni Daʹas received her PhD in materials science and engineering from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in 2015. During her PhD, she developed a scalable and controllable impregnation method for solid oxide cells (SOCs) air electrodes through applying inkjet-impregnation process. In 2016, Eman joined Dr. Ayman Al Qattan’s group as a consultant at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). Her main focus is investigating the performance and the applicability of solar-thermal collectors in the harsh environment of Kuwait.


Lei Bi is a professor at Qingdao University. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2009. From 2009, he was a postdoc at NIMS, Japan, and research scientist at KAUST, Saudi Arabia. His research focuses on the development of key materials for solid oxide fuel/electrolysis cells, in particular using proton-conducting oxides.


Samir Boulfrad received his PhD in materials science and engineering from the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France, in 2007. From 2007 to 2010, he was a research fellow at the University of St. Andrews, UK, and from 2010 to 2015 at KAUST, Saudi Arabia. He is currently the manager of the Energy Sustainability Laboratory in the College of Science & Engineering at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Qatar. His research interests are in solid-state electrochemical methods for energy conversion and storage, with main focus in advanced electrode microstructures for SOFCs & SOECs.


Enrico Traversa is a National 1000-Talent Distinguished Professor at the School of Energy Science and Engineering, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu. He received his “Laurea” (Italian doctoral degree) from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1986. He joined the University of Rome Tor Vergata in 1988, where he has been a professor of materials science and technology since 2000. His research interests are in the nanostructured materials for environment, energy, and healthcare, with special attention to sustainable development. He is the author of more than 500 scientific papers and his ISI H-index is 59.


Supplement

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    Schematic of impregnating LSM nanoparticles on the BZY backbone.

  • Figure 2

    Cross-sectional SEM micrograph of the BZY backbone before impregnation (a) and the BZY backbone covered by LSM nanoparticles after impregnation (b), with an inset at higher magnification to identify the LSM particle size.

  • Figure 3

    (a) Performance comparison of the BZY fuel cells with impregnated LSM cathode and mechanically mixed LSM cathode measured at different temperatures. (b) The enlarged view of the BZY cell performance with the mechanically mixed LSM cathode.

  • Figure 4

    The complex-impedance plane plots of the cell measured at 500, 550, and 600°C.

  • Table 1   Performance comparison of proton-conducting SOFCs with BZY electrolyte reported in the literature and in this study with different cathode materials measured at 600°C. *: Surface modification was applied in Ref. 33 to improve the cathode performance; **: PLD was used to fabricate the electrolyte.

    Ref.

    Electrolyte thickness (μm)

    Cathode composition

    Polarization resistance (Ω cm2)

    Maximum power density (mW cm−2)

    20

    25

    La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3-δ

    1.66 (700°C)

    26

    32

    20

    Sm0.5Sr0.5CoO3-δ

    1.3

    70

    33

    4

    La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3-δ*

    0.56

    110

    34

    25

    Ba0.5Sr0.5Co0.8Fe0.2O3-δ

    N/A

    27

    35

    20

    PrBaCo2O5+x

    0.26

    169

    36

    30

    La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3-δ

    3.12

    51

    47

    2.5**

    La0.6Sr0.4CoO3-δ

    0.15

    740

    This work

    20

    La0.8Sr0.2MnO3-δ

    0.64

    200

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