Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > New analytical methodology can guide electrode optimization

A 3-D rendering of a gas diffusion electrode, used in fuel cells and CO2 electrolyzers, where a thin, uniform, and crack-free catalyst layer is crucial to efficient operation.
A 3-D rendering of a gas diffusion electrode, used in fuel cells and CO2 electrolyzers, where a thin, uniform, and crack-free catalyst layer is crucial to efficient operation.

Abstract:
Using a new analytical methodology--a coupled micro-computed X-ray tomography (MicroCT) and microfluidic-based electrochemical analysis--researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are gaining new insights into electrode structure-performance relationships for energy conversion and storage devices.

New analytical methodology can guide electrode optimization

Urbana, IL | Posted on July 9th, 2013

"Electrodes play a vital role in all devices based on heterogeneous electrochemical reactions for energy conversion, energy storage, and chemical synthesis," explained Molly Jhong, a graduate student at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChemE) and first author of a paper appearing in Advanced Energy Materials. "The performance and durability of these devices is largely determined by the processes that occur at the catalyst layer-electrolyte interface.

"With this research, we have developed a combined approach of MicroCT-based visualization and microfluidic-based electrochemical analysis that allows changes in electrode performance to be directly correlated to differences in catalyst layer structure," Jhong added. "This can guide electrode optimization, including improved catalyst utilization, for a variety of electrochemical energy conversion systems."
The combined approach of MicroCT-based visualization and microfluidic-based electrochemical analysis offers a framework for systematic investigation of electrode-based electrochemical processes such as fuel cells, water electrolyzers to produce hydrogen and oxygen, and carbon dioxide electrolyzers for production of useful chemicals or for energy storage.

The researchers chose X-ray tomography because it provides 3-D material-specific information, in a non-destructive fashion, with high spatial and temporal resolution. This technique has been increasingly employed to better understand, control, and enhance the complex material science that underlies the performance and durability of electrochemical energy technologies.

According to Jhong, the commercialization of polymer-electrolyte membrane fuel cells has been limited by the cathodic oxygen reduction reaction because it requires high loadings of expensive platinum catalyst to achieve performance benchmarks. Similarly, the development of economically-feasible electrochemical reactors to convert carbon dioxide to value-added chemicals requires the advent of catalytic material with high activity and selectivity. Significant efforts have focused on engineering the catalyst layer structure to maximize catalyst utilization as well as overall electrode and system performance for both applications.

"By coupling structural analysis with in-situ electrochemical characterization, we directly correlate variation in catalyst layer morphology to electrode performance," she said. "MicroCT and scanning electron microscopy analyses indicate that more uniform catalyst distribution and less particle agglomeration, lead to better performance." This will benefit the development of new materials and improved processing methodologies for catalyst layer deposition and electrode preparation and may lead to economically-viable electrochemical systems to help address climate change and shift society towards the use of renewable energy sources.

The analyses reported in the research allow for the observed differences over a large geometric volume as a function of preparation methods to be quantified and explained for the first time.

"The research reported the state-of-the-art performance of the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO: highest conversion, and excellent product selectivity at very low catalyst loading," Jhong says "The success of improving performance while largely reducing the loading of precious metal catalysts showcases that the combined MicroCT and electrochemical approach works well and does guide electrode optimization."

In addition to Jhong, authors of the research paper, "The Effects of Catalyst Layer Deposition Methodology on Electrode Performance," include ChemE professor Paul Kenis, MIT assistant professor and Illinois alumnus Fikile Brushett, and Dr. Leilei Yin, research scientist from the Beckman Institute at Illinois.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Paul Kenis
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

217-265-0523

Writer:
Sarah Williams
assistant director of communications
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
217/244-0541

Copyright © University of Illinois College of Engineering

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015

Chemistry

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode: Major milestone in molecular electronics scored by Berkeley Lab and Columbia University team July 29th, 2015

'Seeing' molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics July 28th, 2015

Quantum networks: Back and forth are not equal distances! July 28th, 2015

Make mine a decaf: Breakthrough in knowledge of how nanoparticles grow: University of Leicester and CNRS researchers observe how nanoparticles grow when exposed to helium July 23rd, 2015

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Smart hydrogel coating creates 'stick-slip' control of capillary action July 27th, 2015

Miniature Technology, Large-Scale Impact: Winner of the 2015 Lindros Award for translational medicine, Kjeld Janssen is pushing the boundaries of the emerging lab-on-a-chip technology July 7th, 2015

Lehigh University researchers unveil engineering innovations at TechConnect 2015: TechConnect is the world's largest accelerator for industry-vetted emerging-technologies ready for commercialization June 11th, 2015

Discoveries

Gold-diamond nanodevice for hyperlocalised cancer therapy: Gold nanorods can be used as remote controlled nanoheaters delivering the right amount of thermal treatment to cancer cells, thanks to diamond nanocrystals used as temperature sensors August 1st, 2015

Shaping the hilly landscapes of a semi-conductor nanoworld August 1st, 2015

Solid state physics: Quantum matter stuck in unrest August 1st, 2015

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

Announcements

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Gold-diamond nanodevice for hyperlocalised cancer therapy: Gold nanorods can be used as remote controlled nanoheaters delivering the right amount of thermal treatment to cancer cells, thanks to diamond nanocrystals used as temperature sensors August 1st, 2015

Shaping the hilly landscapes of a semi-conductor nanoworld August 1st, 2015

Solid state physics: Quantum matter stuck in unrest August 1st, 2015

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Sol-gel capacitor dielectric offers record-high energy storage July 30th, 2015

Stretching the limits on conducting wires July 25th, 2015

BESSTECH’s Innovative Battery Technology is Highlighted During Featured Presentations at SEMICON West 2015: CEO Fernando Gómez-Baquero delivers invited remarks at the event’s Silicon Innovation Forum and Semiconductor Technology Symposium July 16th, 2015

Molecular fuel cell catalysts hold promise for efficient energy storage July 16th, 2015

Fuel Cells

Ultra-thin hollow nanocages could reduce platinum use in fuel cell electrodes July 24th, 2015

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost: Eindhoven researchers make important step towards a solar cell that generates hydrogen July 17th, 2015

Molecular fuel cell catalysts hold promise for efficient energy storage July 16th, 2015

Clay sheets stack to form proton conductors: Model system demonstrates a new material property emerging from the assembly of nanoscale building blocks July 13th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project