Optimized electrode microstructure made by infiltration of an electronically conducting material in a ceramic backbone. Illustration from the article in Nature Energy.

Researchers from DTU Energy contribute to the launch issue of Nature Energy

Monday 11 Jan 16
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Mogens Bjerg Mogensen
Professor Emeritus
DTU Energy
+45 46 77 57 26

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Christopher R. Graves
Senior Researcher
DTU Energy
+45 46 77 58 70

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Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou
Senior Researcher
DTU Energy
+45 46 77 58 93

Facts about the article

The article Evolution of the electrochemical interface in high-temperature fuel cells and electrolysers (Nature Energy 1, 15014 (2016)) is available at the Nature Energy homepage. The authors are John T. S. Irvine, Dragos Neagu and Maarten C. Verbraeken from University of St Andrews and Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou, Christopher Graves and Mogens B. Mogensen from DTU Energy.

Researchers from DTU Energy contribute review artikle on high-temperature fuel cells and electrolysers for the launch issue of Nature Energy.

Nature Publishing Group in London publishes a number of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals. The latest addition to their portfolio, Nature Energy, has just been launched. The new journal focuses exclusively on generation, storage and management of energy. This is a clear indication of the increasing importance of the field of energy research. There is a pressing need for research and development on novel energy technologies which will make it possible to reduce CO2 emissions and limit global warming. The new journal will contribute to this focus.

For the first issue of Nature Energy researchers from DTU Energy, together with colleagues from University of St Andrews in Scotland, were asked to contribute a review paper on solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysis cells (jointly referred to as solid oxide cells). Fuel cells can convert the chemical energy of a fuel directly into electricity with high efficiency, while electrolysis cells can store power from, e.g., wind turbines by using it to manufacture hydrogen. These are two technologies which will grow in importance as the share of solar and wind energy increases. This is due to the fact that both solar and wind are naturally fluctuating power sources, making it necessary to be able to store power from periods with high production and low consumption to periods with low production and high consumption.

Solid oxide cells have a relatively high operation temperature and can have a higher efficiency than many other types of cells. The fact that they are singled out for a review in the launch issue of Nature Energy is a reflection of the large importance attached to the technologies by the international research community. And according to Head of department Søren Linderoth it is also an indication that the researchers at DTU Energy are among the leading in this field.

The review paper details the mechanisms determining the performance of a solid oxide cell. The decisive processes turn out to occur at the micro- and nano-scale in the interfaces between the cell electrolyte and electrodes. The use of novel techniques to investigate these interfaces while the cell is in operation has led to the identification of many of the mechanisms responsible for degrading the cell performance over time. The authors point out that new phases are created on the surface of the electrodes which affect the performance. At the same time they identify novel electrode structures which combine high efficiency and robustness towards degradation. This is an excellent example of the fruitful interaction between cutting edge research and technological development necessary to further the energy technologies of tomorrow.

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