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This Support Field Work Proposal (FWP) is executed in support of Stanford University project DE-FE0009620, titled "Surface-Modified Electrodes: Enhancing Performance Guided by In-Situ Spectroscopy and Microscopy." The parent Stanford University project is funded through the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Core Technology Program of the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). This effort will use a technique developed at Sandia - ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy - to study how to improve the properties of the air electrode in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The technique will be used to understand how the surface structure and surface composition of the electrode materials affects performance. Different surface treatments will be prepared at Stanford University and evaluated in-situ by spectroscopy at Sandia. This work will help develop the next generation of more efficient, reliable and less costly SOFCs.

A schematic drawing of a heterostructured SOFC cathode depicting the variation in chemistry and structure going from the micro- to the nanoscale. At the nanometer length scale, the solid-gas interface is very different from the bulk in terms of structure, composition, and electronic structure. The backbone scaffold conducts oxygen ions and electrons to and from the electrolyte and external circuit respectively, and the electrocatalyst facilitates the surface reaction.
Principal Investigator
Anthony McDaniel
Project Benefits

This project focuses on improving cathode activity by directly modifying the chemistry and structure of the nanoscale oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) active surface sites. Improved cell/stack life and performance will reduce operating cost and increase efficiency, resulting in reduction in the cost of electricity and reduction of CO2 emissions from the entire platform. Specifically, this project will identify the characteristics of active ORR sites that display high electrochemical activity, use this knowledge to engineer electrode surfaces, and optimize and validate the modification strategies.

Project ID
Sandia National Laboratories