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Soft X-ray Imaging and Spectromicroscopy: New Insights in Chemical State and Morphology of the Key Components in Operating Fuel-Cells

DOI: 10.1002/chem.201201313 DOI Help
PMID: 22836392 PMID Help

Authors: Benedetto Bozzini (Università del Salento, Italy) , Majid Kazemian Abyaneh (Elettra Laboratory-Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy) , Matteo Amati (Elettra Laboratory-Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy) , Alessandra Gianoncelli (Elettra Laboratory-Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy) , Luca Gregoratti (Elettra Laboratory-Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy) , Burkhard Kaulich (Diamond Light Source) , Maya Kiskinova (Elettra Laboratory-Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Chemistry - A European Journal , VOL 18 (33) , PAGES 10196-10210

State: Published (Approved)
Published: August 2012

Abstract: Fuel cells are one of the most appealing environmentally friendly devices for the effective conversion of chemical energy into electricity and heat, but still there are key barriers to their broad commercialization. In addition to efficiency, a major challenge of fuel-cell technology is the durability of the key components (interconnects, electrodes, and electrolytes) that can be subject to corrosion or undesired morphology and chemical changes occurring under operating conditions. The complementary capabilities of synchrotron-based soft X-ray microscopes in terms of imaging, spectroscopy, spatial and time resolution, and variable probing depths are opening unique opportunities to shed light on the multiple processes occurring in these complex systems at microscopic length scales. This type of information is prerequisite for understanding and controlling the performance and durability of such devices. This paper reviews the most recent efforts in the implementation of these methods for exploring the evolving structure and chemical composition of some key fuel cell components. Recent achievements are illustrated by selected results obtained with simplified versions of proton-exchange fuel-cells (PEFC) and solid-oxide fuel-cells (SOFC), which allow in situ monitoring of the redox reactions resulting in: 1) undesired deposits at interconnects and electrodes (PEFC); 2) material interactions at the electrodeelectrolyte interface (PEFC); 3) release of corrosion products to the electrolyte phase (PEFC, and 4) mass-transport processes and structural changes occurring at the high operation temperatures of SOFC and promoted by the polarization.

Journal Keywords: Electrochemical Reactions; Fuel Cells; Surface Chemistry; X-Ray Imaging; X-Ray Spectromicroscopy

Subject Areas: Chemistry


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