Engineering Low Cost, High Efficiency Reversible Fuel Cells

Fuel Cells
From left are Areum Jun and Prof. Guntae Kim (School of Energy and Chemical Engineering).

A new research, affiliated with UNIST has presented a new type of fuel cell, which can both store electricity in the form of fuels, like hydrogen and regenerate electricity using stored fuels, in a single system.

This research has been jointly conducted by Prof. Guntae Kim (School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, UNIST) in collaboration with Prof. Jeeyoung Shin (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dong-Eui University), and two other researchers from UNIST.

In the study, Prof. Kim’s team has successfully designed and fabricated highly efficient solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs), using layered perovskites as both-side electrodes for the first time. A typical fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and water, whereas an electrolysis cell uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Fuel CellsProf. Kim states, “Using the SOEC, we can produce 0.9 liters of hydrogen per hour via a battery, measuring 1 x 1 cm. And this is one and a half times more than previous studies.” He adds, “Moreover, the SOEC still showed excellent electrochemical performance and stability without any coarsening and delamination of electrodes even after 600 hours of use.”

Unlike the SOECs with conventional LSM and Ni as electrodes, the SOECs with layered perovskite not only provides the highest efficiency of electrolytic hydrogen production, but also high durability without observable degradation for more than 600 hours. This is due to the the successful application of the layered perovskite PBM and PBSCF50 as fuel and air electrodes for the efficient and continuous production of hydrogen.

“This fuel cell solution is an exciting new technology providing us with a flexible, affordable, and environmentally progressive option for energy storage and power generation,” says Areum Jun (School of Energy and Chemical Engineering), the 1st author of the study.

The research, described in a recent study published in the prestigious European journal, Angewandte Chemie International Edition has been selected as a ‘Hot Paper’ by the Editors for its importance in a rapidly evolving field of highcurrent interest.

This study has been supported by the Mid-career Researcher Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Engineering (MSIP).