Polymer Science Faculty Research

Catalysis of solid oxide fuel cells

Steven Chuang, The University of Akron


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and solid oxide electrolyzers (SOEs) hold much promise as highly efficient devices for the direct interconversion of chemical and electrical energy. Commercial application of these devices, however, requires further improvements in their performance and stability. Because the performance of SOFC and SOE electrodes depends on their microstructures, electronic and ionic conductivities, and chemical reactivities, the needed improvements require the expertise of various disciplines, with catalytic science playing an important role. Highly active and thermally stable catalysts are required to limit the internal losses in the devices, increase the range of fuels they can use, and decrease the temperatures at which they operate. In this article we review some of the most important recent advances in catalysis for SOFC and SOE electrodes and highlight additional improvements that are needed.