Energy Materials-Discovery, Characterisation and Application

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

The St Andrews group addresses a wide range of energy related issues such as fundamental electrochemical and solid state chemical studies, development of new and improved fuel cell technologies, providing new energy solutions and integrating new concepts in device application. This research seeks to develop high temperature electrochemical technologies to enable the efficient deployment of new energy frameworks. We seek to optimise current fuel cell technology improving durability and stability and reducing cost of manufacture to enable widespread introduction. A major focus is developing new anode formulations to enable efficient utilisation of more complex fuels, ranging from natural gas and LPG through biogas to liquid biofuels and biomass. Fuel cell technology is a particularly important enabler for biomass utilisation offering high efficiencies of conversion in fairly small unit sizes and is essential to new distributed energy economies.

The group has been very successful in addressing the proposed research objectives of the currently held Platform grant Particular highlights are insitu exolution of nanocatalysts, nanostructural ripening of impregnated electrodes, high performance direct carbon fuel cell performance and a new red photocatalyst. The operation of the Platform also enabled us to strongly engage with EU and especially industrial funding.

Staff development is an important part of the Platform grant programme and all of the Investigators and researchers have advanced their careers significantly during the last 4 years. Those postdocs working on commercially sensitive projects were able to maintain their publication output via partial platform support and key skill researchers were given stability of contract. Researchers have moved to both industry and academic appointments. In the renewal we wish to bring in Prof Wuzong Zhou to enhance our capability in transition Electron Microscopy in particular.

We intend to build upon our achievements in the current platform and to develop new and exciting strands of research. Particular emphasis will be placed upon developing capability in materials processing study interfaces under operational relevant conditions. Research priorities will relate to energy storage through reversible fuel cells and synthetic fuel production, nanoengineering of electrode interfaces, developing new functional materials and in situ studies.

The platform grant provides an invaluable cohesive element to the group, it gives excellent career stability, allows exciting developments to be followed and provides excellent opportunities for our researchers to encounter a wide range of highly important current research in a strongly multidisciplinary environment. Researchers will be encouraged to explore new directions and to seek collaboration opportunities with leading researchers and facilities worldwide. To enable this we propose to run regular workshops and provide means to facilitate study visits to external laboratories. Through both of these mechanisms researchers will be able to extend their technical skills and develop independent collaborative networks.

Planned Impact

Development of materials for energy applications such as fuel cells and electrolysers offer very significant benefits to society in terms of energy security, reducing CO2 emissions and hence have immense industrial potential. We are interacting with several companies who directly fund our research, collaborate on joint programmes or are in discussions about possible support. We are actively seeking to set up an Innovation Bridge that translates from discovery to large scale prototyping.

There is also an important need for well qualified researchers in fuel cell and other electrochemical energy conversion technologies, if we are to fully implement this important new industry. This Platform project will help address this need by training scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds as experts in electrochemical materials science. The international collaboration involved in the project will also help to better prepare the students who work on the project for careers in an ever increasing global marketplace

Publications

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Chien A (2013) Scaling up of the hybrid direct carbon fuel cell technology in International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

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Connolly B (2018) Formation Mechanisms of ZnO Spherulites and Derivatives in Crystal Growth & Design

 
Description The grant has underpinned a broad range of high quality research with over 100 publications including 8 Nature family to date, with 3 patent applications. Particular highlights relate to the establishment of the new research field in emergent nanomaterials, hydride ion conduction, photocatalysis and SOFC electrodes. A major aspect was the development of electron microscopy capability and this has been a great success with the award of both Scios FIB and Titan STEM instruments in our Capital for Great Technologies Award. These facilities have also been brought on stream in a new purpose built building during the current PG with Miller who was initially funded by this award being the EM facility Manager and lead operator of the new facilities. During the PG we have supported 14 PDRAs bridging contract and building new ideas and capabilities. This has allowed the researchers to build and maintain their careers with most continuing in academia, some taking Faculty positions and others moving to technology transfer and technology outreach. A major part of building the PG were the three workshops held in Aviemore, Pitlochry and Kilconquhar which built a strong, coherent team identity. 17 leading international keynote speakers joined us from industry and academia, spending a great deal of team interacting with students and postdocs. Over the three years, the wider PG community involved about 25 PhD students and 30 postdocs
The first object listed in previous PG JES form was "Control of solid oxide electrochemical interfaces on nanoscale during operation to achieve high performance and good durability in same system and development of in situ characterisation" see Nature, 2016, doi:10.1038/nature19090
Exploitation Route Publications are being highly cited
Sectors Chemicals,Energy,Environment

URL http://jtsigroup.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
 
Description One patent with Bloom Energy • "Doped Scandia Stabilized Zirconia Electrolyte Compositions" D. Miller, C.D.Savaniu, JTS Irvine, T. Armstrong. US14083708 4 patent applications in process with St Andrews, • "Development of air filters for organic contaminants in high temperature air streams". UK- 1602590.0, PCT/GB2017/050351 • "New Metal supported catalyst structures". UK - 1618544.9 • "Switching on Electrocatalytic Activity in Solid Oxide Cells". UK - 1611953.9
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Environment
 
Title Data underpinning - Demonstration of high performance in a perovskite oxide supported solid oxide fuel cell based on La and Ca co-doped SrTiO3 
Description Perovskite electrodes have been considered as an alternative to Ni-YSZ cermet-based anodes as they afford better tolerance towards coking and impurities and due to redox stability can allow very high levels of fuel utilisation. Unfortunately performance levels have rarely been sufficient, especially for a second generation anode supported concept. A-site deficient lanthanum and calcium co-doped SrTiO3, La0.2Sr0.25Ca0.45TiO3 (LSCTA-) shows promising thermal, mechanical and electrical properties and has been investigated in this study as a potential anode support material for SOFCs. Flat multilayer ceramics cells were fabricated by aqueous tape casting and co-sintering, comprising a 450-?m thick porous LSCTA- scaffold support, a dense YSZ electrolyte and a thin layer of La0.8Sr0.2CoO3-d (LSC)-La0.8Sr0.2FeO3-d ( LSF)-YSZ cathode. Impregnation of a small content of Ni significantly enhanced fuel cell performance over naked LSCTA-. Use of ceria as a co-catalyst was found to improve the microstructure and stability of impregnated Ni and this in combination with the catalytic enhancement from ceria significantly improved performance over Ni impregnation alone. With addition of CeO2 and Ni to a titanate scaffold anode that had been pre-reduced at 1000oC, a maximum powder density of 0.96Wcm-2 can be achieved at 800oC using humidified hydrogen as fuel. The encouraging results show that an oxide anode material, LSCTA- can be used as anode support with YSZ electrolyte heralding a new option for SOFC development. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning - Hierarchical nanoporous La1.7Ca0.3CuO4-d and La1.7Ca0.3NixCu1-xO4-d (0.25 = x = 0.75) as potential cathode materials for IT-SOFCs 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning - Image analysis and modeling of the orientation of pores in a constrained film on a rigid substrate 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning - In-Situ Thermal Battery Discharge using NiS2 as a Cathode Material 
Description Diffraction data 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning - Probing the Energy Levels of Perovskite Solar Cells via Kelvin Probe and UV Ambient Pressure Photoemission Spectroscopy 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning : Switching on electrocatalytic activity in solid oxide cells 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning : Wetting and interactions of Ag-Cu-Ti and Ag-Cu-Ni alloys with ceramic and steel substrates for use as sealing materials in a DCFC stack 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning In-situ Thermal Battery Discharge Using CoS2 as a Cathode Material 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning: Nickel nanocatalyst exsolution from (La,Sr)(Cr,M, Ni)O3 (M=Mn, Fe) perovskites for the fuel oxidation layer of Oxygen Transport Membranes 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning: Role of coal characteristics in the electrochemical behaviour of hybrid direct carbon fuel cells 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinning:Nano-socketed nickel particles with enhanced coking resistance grown in situ by redox exsolution 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Data underpinninng - Enhancement of redox stability and electrical conductivity by doping various metals on ceria, Ce1-xMxO2-d (M=Ni, Cu, Co, Mn, Ti, Zr) 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Demonstration of chemistry at a point through restructuring and catalytic activation at anchored nanoparticles (dataset) 
Description Nature Communications Paper 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Optoelectronic Applications of Lead Halide Perovskites (thesis data) 
Description Data set for this thesis including the raw data for solar cell J-V curves, laser measurements (threshold, gain, loss, and profiles), resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, PLQY data, surface profilometry, absorption spectroscopy, and time resolved photoluminescence. Also included are SEM and microscope images of samples during the optimisation process. Some of the data files will need to be viewed on Origin, and the RUS data is best viewed on IGOR, but the rest of the data is in non-proprietary format. The data files are embargoed until 20/08/2019 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title The Role of Lattice Distortion and A Site Cation in the Phase Transitions of Methylammonium Lead Halide Perovskites (dataset) 
Description  
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title METHOD FOR PRODUCING AN ELECTRODE CATALYST FROM A PEROVSKITE METAL OXIDE 
Description The invention relates to a method of producing electrode materials for solid oxide cells which comprises applying an electric potential to a metal oxide which has a perovskite crystal structure. The resultant electrode catalyst exhibits excellent electrochemical performance. The invention extends to the electrode catalyst itself, and to electrodes and solid oxide cells comprising the electrode catalyst. 
IP Reference CA3030088 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2018
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact -
 
Description 1st Meeting of the Energy Materials Discovery and Characterisation and Application Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This workshop was developed with funding from EPSRC as part of a Platform Grant. It enabled the group to discuss and present their research to the wider group as well as invited keynote speakers. This year's workshop included speakers from academia, providing a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge. Networking was promoted through the dinner and poster sessions. For the debute year of the group meeting the programme included topics on materials for solid oxide fuel cells, direct carbon fuel cells, oxygen transport membranes, photoelectrocatalysis, exsolution, catalysis and hydrides.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL https://jtsigroup.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2013/08/27/aviemore/
 
Description The 2nd meeting of the Energy Materials Discovery Characterisation and Application Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This workshop was developed with funding from EPSRC as part of a Platform Grant. It enabled the group to discuss and present their research to the wider group as well as invited keynote speakers. This year's workshop included speakers from industry, providing a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge. Networking was promoted through the dinners and free afternoon. This year's theme 'Energy Materials in Industry' may also bring collaborative opportunities leading to funding in future years or publications leading to research excellence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://jtsigroup.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2014/06/02/hello-world/
 
Description The 3rd meeting of the Energy Materials Discovery Characterisation and Application Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This workshop was developed with funding from EPSRC as part of a Platform Grant. It enabled the group to discuss and present their research to the wider group as well as invited keynote speakers. This year's workshop included speakers from world class research facilities, universities and industry, providing a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge.

Networking was promoted through a dinner held on the first evening of the workshop. This year's meeting may also bring collaborative opportunities leading to funding in future years or publications leading to research excellence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://jtsigroup.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2015/09/11/3rd-meeting-of-the-energy-materials-discovery-chara...