Clean Technology 2009

Improved Low Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

A.J. Jacobson, G. Kim, S. Wang, R.C. Schucker
SeprOx Corporation, US

Keywords: fuel cell, perovskite, cathode, oxygen reduction


Recent worldwide interest in a hydrogen-based energy economy has refocused attention on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) as a potential source of efficient, environmentally friendly, fuel-versatile electric power. Due to their high operating temperature, SOFCs offer several potential advantages over polymer-based fuel cells, including low internal resistance, high tolerance to CO and direct oxidation of hydrocarbons as well as hydrogen. Despite these advantages of high temperature, the extreme temperature of traditional SOFC materials (850 - 1000 °C) limits many potential applications, and is associated with high cost and degradation problems. While lower temperature electrolytes, such as gadolinia-doped ceria (CGO) are promising, the performance of most low temperature SOFCs is limited by cathode resistance. Recent research and development at the University of Houston’s Texas Center for Superconductivity has uncovered a family of layered perovskites with ordered A cations, as exemplified by PrBaCo2O5+x (PBCO), that have exceptional low temperature conductivity and that have been shown to be promising cathodes for anode-supported thin film composite SOFCs using CGO. SeprOx Corporation has licensed the technology from UH and is seeking strategic partners with whom to work to scale up and commercialize SOFCs incorporating this unique material.
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