Inkjet Impregnation for Tailoring Air Electrode Microstructure to Improve Solid Oxide Cells Performance
AuthorsDa’as, Eman H.
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Materials Science and Engineering Program
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AbstractThe urge to lower the operating temperature of solid oxide cells (SOCs) to the intermediate ranges between 500-700°C motivated the research into impregnation processes, which offer highly efficient SOC air electrodes at low operating temperatures. Lack of controllability and reproducibility of this technique in the conventional way is still considered as an inadequacy for industrialization since it is performed manually. Therefore, inkjet-printing technology was proposed as an adequate approach to perform scalable and controllable impregnation for SOC air electrodes, which in turn leads to low operating temperatures. Composite LSM-ionic conductive air electrodes of weight ratio 1:2 were fabricated by inkjet impregnation of lanthanum strontium manganite (La0.8Sr0.2MnO3) precursor nitrates onto a porous ionic conductive backbone structure. First, porous yttria stabilized zirconia (8YSZ) substrates prepared by tape casting were used to study the influence of the printing parameters on the lateral dispersion and penetration of LSM ink inside the pores. XRD analysis confirmed the formation of LSM phase after calcination at 800°C for 2 h, while SEM revealed the formation of LSM nanostructures. It has been found by optical microscope observations that the spacing between the drops and the substrate temperature have a significant role in controlling the printing process. Next, the optimized printing parameters were applied in the inkjet impregnation of the LSM ink into porous YSZ electrodes that were spin coated on both sides of dense YSZ layers. LSM-YSZ composite air electrodes achieved an area specific resistance (ASR) of around 0.29 Ω.cm2 at 700°C. The performance of LSM-YSZ composite electrodes was influenced by the microstructure and the thickness, and by the electrode/electrolyte interface characteristics. As a result, the enhancement in LSM-YSZ composite electrode performance was observed due to the better percolation in LSM, YSZ and oxygen diffusion. Finally, further reduction of SOFC operating temperatures below 700°C was achieved using high temperature proton conducting (HTPC) oxides like Y-doped barium zirconate (BZY20). Anode supported solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) of configuration NiO-BZY20/BZY20/LSM-BZY20 was fabricated by co-pressing and inkjet impregnation. The cell exhibited at 600°C maximum power density, ohmic resistance and polarization resistance of 200 mW/cm2, 0.41 Ω.cm2 and 0.65 Ω.cm2, respectively.