TITLE: IMPROVING INTERMEDIATE TEMPERATURE
PERFORMANCE OF NI-YSZ CERMET
ANODES FOR SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELLS BY INFILTRATION OF NICKEL NANOPARTICLES AND MIXED IONIC ELECTRONIC CONDUCTORS
ABSTRACT: Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are one of the most efficient and environment-friendly devices for electricity generation. One critical challenge of SOFC commercialization is high cell operating temperatures (800°C-1000°C), which lead to high material costs, high performance degradation rates, long start-up and shutdown times, and limited portable applications. Intermediate temperature (600°C-800°C) operation of SOFCs is limited by sluggish electrode reaction kinetics. The objective of this research is to improve intermediate temperature performance of commercially available Ni-YSZ cermet anode supported SOFCs by liquid infiltration of the anode.
One effective method to improve kinetics of electrochemical reactions at the anode is to increase the density of reaction sites, which are known as the triple phase boundaries (TPBs). The porous Ni-YSZ cermet anodes were liquid infiltrated with Ni nanoparticles, leading to a four-fold increase in TPB density in the anode. The improved electrochemical performance of the infiltrated cells compared to the uninfiltrated cells highlights the electiveness of anode infiltration in facilitation improved anode electrochemical reaction kinetics. However, the post-electrochemical testing characterization revealed that Ni nanoparticles were not stable due to Ni coarsening and were mostly isolated indicating that not all of the additional TPBs were fully utilized in electrochemical reactions due to the lack of an electronic pathway between the Ni nanoparticles.
In order to improve microstructural stability of the infiltrated Ni nanoparticles, and to fully utilize the added TPBs, coinfiltration of Ni with a mixed ionic and electronic conductor (MIEC) was carried out. Two MIEC materials are chosen based
on their chemical stability and conductivity in the anode operating environments; Gd0.1Ce0.9O2-δ (GDC), a predominantly
an ionic conductor, and La0.6Sr0.3Ni0.15Cr0.85O3-δ (LSNC), a predominantly electronic conductor, and cells were successfully co-infiltrated to form Ni-GDC and Ni-LSNC nanostructures with the MIEC phases connecting the Ni nanoparticles. Stability tests demonstrated that both MIECs inhibited Ni nanoparticle coarsening. Electrochemical studies showed that Ni-GDC is the most effective for improved anode kinetics. A long-term (120 hours) electrochemical test indicated that infiltration of Ni-GDC into Ni-YSZ cermet anode effectively improves overall cell performance at intermediate temperatures and maintains the performance gain for a long period of time.
Soumendra N. Basu, MSE/ME; Uday B. Pal, MSE/ME; Srikanth Gopalan, MSE/ME; Karl Ludwig, MSE/Physics; CHAIR: Shyamsunder Erramilli, MSE/BME/Physics