The University of Maryland (UMD) project is a multi-faceted fundamental investigation of the effects of contaminants on cathode degradation mechanisms in order to establish cathode composition/structures and operational conditions to enhance cathode durability. The results will be used to develop hypotheses that explain the microstructural and compositional cathode performance degradation mechanisms and mitigation strategies. Phenomenological models will be developed concurrently to describe the role of architectural and operational variables on cathode performance and stability. These will result in the formation of design criteria that will be validated experimentally in terms of electrochemical performance stability in the targeted contaminant containing air in long-term tests.
This project focuses on investigating the effects of contaminants on cathode degradation mechanisms in order to establish cathode composition and structures and operational conditions to enhance cathode durability. 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 determine the mechanistic effects of H2O and Cr vapor, CO2, and particulates on cathode durability, quantify microstructural and compositional changes, and determine the surface exchange mechanisms and coefficients using in-situ isotope exchange of labeled contaminants.