Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Chemistry

Ultra-efficient removal of carbon monoxide using gold nanoparticles on a molecular support: New method and mechanism for state-of-the-art gas purification February 9th, 2018

Fast-spinning spheres show nanoscale systems' secrets: Rice University lab demonstrates energetic properties of colloids in spinning magnetic field February 7th, 2018

New filters could enable manufacturers to perform highly-selective chemical separation January 23rd, 2018

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture Surfaces inspired by carnivorous plants delay degradation by marine fouling January 17th, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Leti to Demo New Curving Technology at Photonics West that Improves Performance of Optical Components January 18th, 2018

Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue: Rice University scientists, engineers develop microfluidic devices, microelectrodes for gentle implantation December 19th, 2017

Discoveries

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Announcements

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

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

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Photonic chip guides single photons, even when there are bends in the road February 16th, 2018

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

Leti Chief Scientist Barbara De Salvo Will Help Kick Off ISSCC 2018 with Opening-Day Keynote: In Addition, Leti Scientists Will Present and Demo New Technology for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting February 8th, 2018

Round-the-clock power from smart bowties February 5th, 2018

NTU scientists create customizable, fabric-like power source for wearable electronics January 30th, 2018

Ultra-thin memory storage device paves way for more powerful computing January 17th, 2018

Fuel Cells

Study boosts hope for cheaper fuel cells: Rice University researchers show how to optimize nanomaterials for fuel-cell cathodes January 6th, 2018

Hydrogen power moves a step closer: Physicists are developing methods of creating renewable fuel from water using quantum technology September 15th, 2017

More durable, less expensive fuel cells: University of Delaware researchers have developed a new technology that could speed up the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles September 5th, 2017

Engineers pioneer platinum shell formation process and achieve first-ever observation August 11th, 2017

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project