Perspectives on Degradation in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Using X-ray Spectroscopies and Scattering
Lai, Samson Yuxiu
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Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) represent a major piece of a next-generation, renewable, clean energy economy and contribute to combating anthropogenic climate change by efficiently converting chemical energy into electrical energy through electrochemical reactions. However, despite adding significant chemical, mechanical, and microstructural complexity to push SOFC performance ever higher, cost and durability remain significant barriers to SOFC commercialization. Two of these issues are cathode stability in atmospheres containing carbon dioxide and water vapor and anode stability in fuel containing hydrogen sulfide. With regards to those aspects, state-of-the-art SOFC cathodes (La1-xSrxMnO3-δ and La1-xSrxCo1-yFeyO3-δ) and anodes (NiO and BaZr0.1Ce0.7Y0.1Yb0.1O3-δ) are studied to understand the interactions between contaminant and electrode. In this work, powerful in situ and operando x-ray spectroscopy and scattering experiments provide deep insight into the physiochemical phenomena that define the behavior of SOFC electrode materials. These studies demonstrate that proper combination of in situ and operando experiments, due partially to the powerful intensity and capabilities of synchrotron x-rays, can provide unique information that has never before been possible and is critical to gaining new perspectives and to better understand data where a single perspective may only lead to ambiguous conclusions. Such a multi-pronged characterization approach is vital to gaining a better understanding of complex SOFC materials and providing critical insights for rational design of next-generation SOFC electrode materials.