PhD candidate: Jaroslaw SAR

PhD defence 4/11/2014 - Grenoble INP, France.

The world continues to increase its demand for innovation in energy research, which is supported by increased government spending on energy. Many energy-related research initiatives inherently require small-scale material analysis due to the micro- and nano-scale feature sizes in new and improved materials for energy innovation. Working at intermediate temperature below 800°C in solid oxide fuel cells (IT-SOFCs) would greatly decrease operation and fabrication expenses associated with interconnect materials, while improving their overall lifetime. Unfortunately, detrimental phenomena such as electrolyte ohmic losses as well as electrode polarizations increase at lower temperature. One actual technological bolt in solid oxide electrolyser cells (SOECs) is the detachment of the anode where oxygen is produced. To compensate for the efficiency decrease in SOFCs and SOECs, alternative electrolyte/electrode interfaces have to be evaluated.

This project is focused on the fabrication by electro-spraying, physico-chemical and electrochemical characterizations of original alternative continuous graded electrode/electrolyte interfaces encompassing nanomechanical testing techniques in order to improve durability of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and solid oxide electrolyser cells (SOECs) operatingat 700°C and 850°C respectively in air. A comparison of electrical and mechanical properties on non graded YSZ/CGO-LSCF will be performed to demonstrate the interest of the CGO-LSCF gradation on YSZ as cathode for IT-SOFC and anode for SOEC.

The research will be performed in close collaboration with two academic research groups from INPG (Grenoble, France) and IST (Lisbon, Portugal) having an expertise in the fabrication of graded electrodes using the innovative electrostatic spray deposition process, the physical and chemical characterizations (FEG-SEM-EDS, XRD, Auger electron spectroscopy, Scratch tests, SEM microbending, AFM indentation and microwear testing) and the electrochemical characterizations.

The industrial partner EDF-EIFER (Karlsruhe) will bring its experience on fuel cells and high temperature electrolysers testing by proposing to the PhD student a training session of 3 to 5 months in its laboratories with a financial grant during this period. The PhD student will be able to perform electrical and electrochemical measurements of a single cell integrating the developed YSZ/CGO-LSCF and to compare obtained performance and durability with the ones of reference cells based on LSM oxygen electrode.

Project Partners

INPG-LEPMI (Laboratoire d’Electrochimie et de Physico-chimie des Matériaux et des Interfaces, Grenoble) – elaboration, electrochemical and physico-chemical characterisations

IST-ICEMS (Instituto de Ciência e Engenharia de Materiais e Superfícies of Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal) – physico-chemical and mechanical characterizations.

EDF-EIFER, Karlsruhe (Germany) - fuel cells and high temperature electrolysers testing