Proton Ceramic Electrochemical Cells (PCECs) represent an emerging technology for cost-efficient electrochemical energy conversion processes. This includes stationary energy storage, power generation, and renewable fuel and chemical production with high electrical efficiency. While there is still rapid progress in the development of materials and components for improved cell performance across several different applications. However, there is at present limited understanding of the fundamental electrochemical processes that occur at the surfaces and interfaces of PCECs when they are operated away from equilibrium. In particular, we propose that specific reaction pathways may be impacted by the presence of adsorbed water layers on surfaces ? which is yet to be described and investigated in the literature.
To address this challenge, this project aims to BRIDGE different scientific disciplines to provide new insights into the fundamentals of PCECs. This will be achieved by combining state-of-the-art knowledge and experimental techniques from more developed intersecting technologies with specific empirical studies to truly understand the nature of the specific electrochemical reactions in PCECs. Specifically designed experiments and cell geometries will be developed to study the chemistry and physics of component surfaces and interfaces while the device is in electrochemical operation ?? so called operando characterization. The input from these empirical studies will be coupled with theoretical modelling to develop a complete electrochemical model for PCECs ? providing a bridge between material-specific properties of individual components and the electrochemical reactions that occur in the cell under operation.
The comprehensive electrochemical model developed in BRIDGE will provide invaluable insight into the key limiting processes of PCECs, and form the basis for novel component and cell designs for improved electrochemical performance and durability.
Proton Ceramic Electrochemical Cell (PCEC) based systems are an emerging technology for cost-efficient stationary energy storage, power generation and fuel production with high electrical efficiency. The development of PCEC has primarily targeted understanding and improving the bulk properties of electrolyte and electrode materials through equilibrium characterization of defect chemistry and transport properties. However, as PCEC technologies mature into scaled up electrochemical devices there is an urgent need to understand and describe the fundamental electrochemical processes of PCECs when operated far-from-equilibrium. In particular, the impact of surface protonic species on transport paths and reaction kinetics of PCEC electrodes may become increasingly important as PCECs approach the targeted intermediate-temperature regime (300-500°C). To address these needs, BRIDGE aims to extend the mechanistic understanding of intermediate-temperature PCECs as they are operated in- and out-of-equilibrium, by bridging electrochemistry, multi-scale modelling, catalysis and surface protonics in an empirically validated electrochemical model.
To achieve this ambitious target, BRIDGE will employ a holistic and interdisciplinary approach coupling established methodologies from materials science, catalysis and electrochemistry with the development of novel operando methodologies for direct analysis of surface kinetics and surface chemistry of PCEC electrode surface and interfaces as they are operated far-from-equilibrium. The results will be corroborated by atomistic modelling and used as inputs for a comprehensive and mechanistic electrochemical model based on a generalized current density equation.