Tuesday, January 22, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Technological Institute, L211
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208 map it
Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public
Category: Lectures & Meetings
Please join us in welcoming Dane Morgan, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Department, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for our 2013 Winter Colloquium series.
Tuesday, January 22,2013
Tech L211, 4:00pm.
"Molecular Scale Understanding and Design of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathodes"
From peak oil to global warming to grid stability, a host of issues suggest that our methods for obtaining energy will have to change dramatically over the next few decades. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) extract energy from fuels electrochemically, and offer a clean, low-emission, quiet, reliable, fuel adaptable, and highly efficient way to obtain power. Many researchers are therefore exploring SOFCs for applications ranging from integration into coal and gas power plants to distributed power for buildings. An outstanding challenge in the design of SOFCs is that they must catalyze the oxygen reduction reaction, O2(gas) +2e- 2O2- (solid). This reaction requires good catalysts and can only be done efficiently at high temperature, limiting the durability and applicability of the fuel cells. There is therefore a strong interest in developing improved catalysts for SOFCs. Present SOFC catalysts are typically perovskite oxides, which can reduce O2 gas and transport O2- through their bulk to the electrolyte. However, this unusual chemical reaction is still poorly understood, inhibiting the development of improved SOFC technologies. In this talk I will discuss how ab initio quantum mechanical methods can be used to better understand and design improved cathode materials. As the SOFC cathode reaction includes both oxygen reduction and bulk transport, the catalytic performance of perovskites couples strongly to both their bulk and surface defect thermokinetics. We will demonstrate how bulk defect properties can be predicted, including defect chemistry and kinetics and potential coupling to strain. We then demonstrate some of the challenges of predicting perovskite catalytic activity, and discuss both direct mechanistic approaches and how correlating descriptors with the activity can be used to predict performance.