Solid Oxide Interfaces for Faster Ion Transport (SOIFIT)

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

Solid state electrochemical devices are set to revolutionise clean energy conversion and storage and provide a pathway to minimise carbon emissions whilst sustaining global energy requirements. Devices such as the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and the Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) and all solid state lithium and sodium batteries will play an increasingly important role in the energy economies of Japan, Europe and the USA, for domestic industrial and transport applications. Example devices are all solid state Li batteries for electric vehicles, and SOFC stacks for domestic CHP applications. Such devices based on solid oxide electrolytes rely upon the rapid transport of charged atoms (ions) across either the solid/gas and/or solid/solid interfaces. In addition to the optimisation of such interfaces for fast ion transport, they also play an important role in the degradation of devices under operating conditions. Examples of these degradation processes are the drop in performance of SOFC electrodes caused by surface decomposition of the active oxides, the formation of short circuit Li metal dendrites in Li batteries, and the delamination of electrodes in SOEC. The focus of this proposal will be to provide a full and fundamental study of both types of interface by state-of-the-art characterisation techniques, combined with cutting edge theoretical simulations, to investigate the detailed atomic structure electronic structure chemical composition and mass and charge transport. This is a very challenging task as the materials used in practical devices are complex multi-component oxides. Examples include the double perovskite oxides, such as GdBaCo2O5+d used as a SOFC cathode and an SOEC anode, and the garnet La3Zr2Li7O12 used as an electrolyte in Li batteries. In addition the investigation of these interfaces after exposure to simulated operating conditions, or real operation in devices, will enhance the lifetime of devices and lead to more viable commercial products. A consortium of universities and research institutes will form the core of this collaboration. The lead partners are the Department of Materials at Imperial College London and the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER) Kyushu University. Outside the lead UK-Japanese team will be the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI/ETH) Zurich and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This consortium will ensure that the researchers in the collaborating countries have access to the latest high performance equipment and theoretical tools. It will also allow young researchers from all the participants to travel between the partners, and meet senior scientists involved in this important research topic. It is hoped that the formation of this consortium will form a "critical mass" of effort to solve what have, up to now, been intractable problems.

Planned Impact

In this collaboration we will directly address the three key strategies of EPSRC: Balancing Capability, Building Leadership and Accelerating Impact. By investing in highly skilled individuals and through the provision of high quality international research exchanges, where participants will work with international leaders in their fields, we will mentor our staff and students, developing them as future international research leaders. Our programme will provide excellent opportunities for researchers and PhD students to gain international experience and develop a wide portfolio of skills in key techniques. Whilst our focus will be on solid state electrochemical devices, the skills developed will be applicable of a range of physical sciences themes. We will also transfer complementary skills from our partners to the UK participants, and attract highly skilled individuals to the UK research sector. Our intention is that the staff involved will develop into future research leaders during the course of this 5-year collaboration. At its conclusion we would expect several of the participants to have secured prestigious fellowships (EPSRC, Royal Society, RAEng ets.) whilst others will have secured academic positions or postdoctoral placements. Our work will also provide support for the CDTs in Advanced Materials Characterisation and Fuel Cells, with placement opportunities available at all of our international partners. In terms of specific outputs, we will generate high impact papers, generate IP and develop links with both UK and Japanese industrial partners during this collaboration. These activities address all three of the strategies outline by EPSRC: Balancing Capability, Building Leadership and Accelerating Impact.
We also have an impact in the industrial application of these devices. Imperial is closely working with its spin out company, Ceres Power, in the development of SOFC technology. Ceres is actively working with Japanese industrial partners (Nissan, Honda) and will benefit from contact with Japanese academics. The activities of the consortium, particulalrly in terms of degradation processes will be of wide use to both UK and Japanese industry. A further impact of this collaborative research will be the supply of trained personnel capable of rapidly integrating into these highly interdisciplinary industries.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The non-academic impact of this award has been, in the first few months, primarily cultural as the multi-national team finds ways to effectively work together. As researchers are being exchanged there is also an element of educational benefit as our team members learn new research skills whilst at the partner. The number of exchanges has increased in the last year (2018) and has involved regular exchanges between Imperial, Kyushu, and Tokyo Tech, as well as developing collaborations with PSI and Gdansk University of Technology. The findings are being collated and submitted as conference presentations for the 2019 Solid State Ionics meeting and it is anticipated that these will lead to collaborative publications in the next year.
Sector Education,Energy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Gdansk University of Technology 
Organisation Gdansk University of Technology
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are undertaking collaborative research in which samples are supplied by Gdansk for the group at Imperial to study.
Collaborator Contribution Samples are provided for our use and we subsequently work jointly on analysing the data and preparing results for publication.
Impact On-going
Start Year 2018
 
Description JSPS Core-to-Core collaboration 
Organisation Gdansk University of Technology
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is an exchange programme funded for 5 years. This has resulted in 3 international symposia and a series of exchange visits between the partners in the 1st year of the award. The collaborative research instigated by this collaboration involves a series of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students and will produce a series of high impact papers.
Collaborator Contribution Each of the partners has been involved in all aspects of the collaboration, from hosting visiting researchers, organising symposia to conceiving and staffing new research projects associated with the core-core exchange. PSI is undertaking analysis of samples, whilst Kyushu has hosted researchers on collaborative projects. This is very much in the early stages and interactions will accelerate over the next 5 years.
Impact No published outputs at this stage, although there have been three international meetings held - one in London and two in Kyushu. These had participants from other institutions who are not part of the collaboration, and hence we were able to disseminate the progress made to date. Since last submission there have been further collaborative meetings held in Switzerland and Tokyo, with a further meeting planned in Dec in Boston. Significant exchanges of personnel that will lead to joint publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description JSPS Core-to-Core collaboration 
Organisation Kyushu University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is an exchange programme funded for 5 years. This has resulted in 3 international symposia and a series of exchange visits between the partners in the 1st year of the award. The collaborative research instigated by this collaboration involves a series of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students and will produce a series of high impact papers.
Collaborator Contribution Each of the partners has been involved in all aspects of the collaboration, from hosting visiting researchers, organising symposia to conceiving and staffing new research projects associated with the core-core exchange. PSI is undertaking analysis of samples, whilst Kyushu has hosted researchers on collaborative projects. This is very much in the early stages and interactions will accelerate over the next 5 years.
Impact No published outputs at this stage, although there have been three international meetings held - one in London and two in Kyushu. These had participants from other institutions who are not part of the collaboration, and hence we were able to disseminate the progress made to date. Since last submission there have been further collaborative meetings held in Switzerland and Tokyo, with a further meeting planned in Dec in Boston. Significant exchanges of personnel that will lead to joint publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description JSPS Core-to-Core collaboration 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is an exchange programme funded for 5 years. This has resulted in 3 international symposia and a series of exchange visits between the partners in the 1st year of the award. The collaborative research instigated by this collaboration involves a series of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students and will produce a series of high impact papers.
Collaborator Contribution Each of the partners has been involved in all aspects of the collaboration, from hosting visiting researchers, organising symposia to conceiving and staffing new research projects associated with the core-core exchange. PSI is undertaking analysis of samples, whilst Kyushu has hosted researchers on collaborative projects. This is very much in the early stages and interactions will accelerate over the next 5 years.
Impact No published outputs at this stage, although there have been three international meetings held - one in London and two in Kyushu. These had participants from other institutions who are not part of the collaboration, and hence we were able to disseminate the progress made to date. Since last submission there have been further collaborative meetings held in Switzerland and Tokyo, with a further meeting planned in Dec in Boston. Significant exchanges of personnel that will lead to joint publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description JSPS Core-to-Core collaboration 
Organisation Ohio State University
Department Electron Microscopy and Analysis
PI Contribution This is an exchange programme funded for 5 years. This has resulted in 3 international symposia and a series of exchange visits between the partners in the 1st year of the award. The collaborative research instigated by this collaboration involves a series of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students and will produce a series of high impact papers.
Collaborator Contribution Each of the partners has been involved in all aspects of the collaboration, from hosting visiting researchers, organising symposia to conceiving and staffing new research projects associated with the core-core exchange. PSI is undertaking analysis of samples, whilst Kyushu has hosted researchers on collaborative projects. This is very much in the early stages and interactions will accelerate over the next 5 years.
Impact No published outputs at this stage, although there have been three international meetings held - one in London and two in Kyushu. These had participants from other institutions who are not part of the collaboration, and hence we were able to disseminate the progress made to date. Since last submission there have been further collaborative meetings held in Switzerland and Tokyo, with a further meeting planned in Dec in Boston. Significant exchanges of personnel that will lead to joint publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description JSPS Core-to-Core collaboration 
Organisation Paul Scherrer Institute
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This is an exchange programme funded for 5 years. This has resulted in 3 international symposia and a series of exchange visits between the partners in the 1st year of the award. The collaborative research instigated by this collaboration involves a series of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students and will produce a series of high impact papers.
Collaborator Contribution Each of the partners has been involved in all aspects of the collaboration, from hosting visiting researchers, organising symposia to conceiving and staffing new research projects associated with the core-core exchange. PSI is undertaking analysis of samples, whilst Kyushu has hosted researchers on collaborative projects. This is very much in the early stages and interactions will accelerate over the next 5 years.
Impact No published outputs at this stage, although there have been three international meetings held - one in London and two in Kyushu. These had participants from other institutions who are not part of the collaboration, and hence we were able to disseminate the progress made to date. Since last submission there have been further collaborative meetings held in Switzerland and Tokyo, with a further meeting planned in Dec in Boston. Significant exchanges of personnel that will lead to joint publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description JSPS Core-to-Core collaboration 
Organisation Tokyo Institute of Technology
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is an exchange programme funded for 5 years. This has resulted in 3 international symposia and a series of exchange visits between the partners in the 1st year of the award. The collaborative research instigated by this collaboration involves a series of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students and will produce a series of high impact papers.
Collaborator Contribution Each of the partners has been involved in all aspects of the collaboration, from hosting visiting researchers, organising symposia to conceiving and staffing new research projects associated with the core-core exchange. PSI is undertaking analysis of samples, whilst Kyushu has hosted researchers on collaborative projects. This is very much in the early stages and interactions will accelerate over the next 5 years.
Impact No published outputs at this stage, although there have been three international meetings held - one in London and two in Kyushu. These had participants from other institutions who are not part of the collaboration, and hence we were able to disseminate the progress made to date. Since last submission there have been further collaborative meetings held in Switzerland and Tokyo, with a further meeting planned in Dec in Boston. Significant exchanges of personnel that will lead to joint publications.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Paul Scherrer Institute - 
Organisation Paul Scherrer Institute
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We have collaborated with PSI to undertake Rutherford Back Scattering and ERDA analysis of thin film samples, providing detailed chemical composition information.
Collaborator Contribution Thomas Lippert and his group at PSI have contributed to the SOIFIT collaboration through firstly hosting a project meeting at their facility, but also directly to our research through the measurement of RBS and ERDA data on our samples. Through continuing discussion we will produce a co-authored publication in the near future.
Impact On-going
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaborating towards cleaner energy - Impact Pub 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Published overview of the collaboration in an Impact Publication (www.impact.pub) 2019. Distributed widely and includes links to a number of related energy research programmes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018