The main objective of the proposed project is the development of a concept for intermediate temperature fuel cell (600-700oC) which can work as electrolyzer in reverse mode. It is based on a new design of solid oxide fuel cell (dual membrane fuel cell - dmFC) confirmed in a previous (FP7) project, which eliminates the basic disadvantages of the existing designs in respect to water formation and evacuation through the electrodes. The kernel of the present proposal is a deeper insight in some new phenomena: (i) mixed ionic (proton and oxide ion) conductivity in the proton conducting electrolyte BaCe0.85Y0.15O2.925 (BCY15) and (ii) tendency for hydroxylation. Those recently discovered properties of the material need profound fundamental understanding combined with laboratory proof for controlled and targeted applications in direction increase of the dmFC efficiency, durability and operation in reversible mode.
The team members are selected according to their multidisciplinary expertize (functional ceramics, electrochemical methods, catalysis, neutron diffraction) which will be used for investigation of the water formation, transport, evacuation, splitting and conductivity mechanisms in the dmFC architecture based on the newly discovered properties of BCY15. An advanced approach is the combination of macroscopic electrochemical methods (impedance spectroscopy) with structural atomic level studies by neutron diffraction and experimental verification of the basic conclusions by electrochemical testing of laboratory cells (“button type”) at operating conditions. The planned key activities can be classified as basic and breakthrough research which should overcome technology readiness levels 2-3. After reaching level 4, the topic can be further supported by Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking in Horizon 2020. Those provisory activities will be a prerogative of ARMINES (France) – the foreign participant in this proposal. In addition the team will apply its expertise in amorphous solid state electrolytes for the development of proton-conducting materials for operation in the temperature gap between SOFC and Polymer electrolyte fuel cell, covering the range 200-350oC.