A Multifunctional Nanocomposite for the Improvement of Fuel Cells

To improve the performance of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) at low temperatures, researchers at WVU have developed a novel multifunctional nanocomposite for use in fuel cells using atomic layer deposition. This deposition approach can be used to modify and redesign the internal surface of solid oxide fuel cell cathodes. Electrodes in solid oxide fuel cells are engineered to be porous to generate an internal surface area for accessing the reactant gas. The electrochemical reactions of the cell occur on the surface serving as the pathway for catalytic reactions. The electrodes of the cell are responsible for the transport process. The resulting composite layer controls the selective wetting of the catalyst on the surface. The novel composite layer has been demonstrated to result in a significant reduction of cell polarization resistance by over 50 percent and a substantial increase of power density of almost 400 percent. The performance enhancement is facilitated by the high-density catalyst which alters the charge and mass transfer pathway and subsequently extends the electrochemical active area to the entire surface. Christopher Menchini chris.menchini@mail.wvu.edu 304-293-9577

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