. Scientific Frontline: Chemists Optimized Ceramic Material for Hydrogen Energy

Friday, February 10, 2023

Chemists Optimized Ceramic Material for Hydrogen Energy

The Institute of Hydrogen Energy is creating materials and technologies.
Photo Credit: Anna Popova

The team of scientists from the Institute of High-Temperature Electrochemistry, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Ural Federal University has obtained a ceramic material for hydrogen energy. Chemists managed to synthesize, study, and improve the properties of layered barium stannate. This material can be used in fuel cells and electrolyzers. They are used to produce hydrogen or electrical energy. The scientists described the synthesis process and chemical properties of the material in an article in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds

"We have been investigating barium stannate, an understudied layered material, for use in high-temperature devices. We prepared samples and found that it begins to partially decompose into oxides when stored outdoors for long periods of time. We were able to improve the stability by adding lanthanum, but we did not completely eliminate the problem. However, since the material as a whole has quite good electron-conducting properties, it can certainly be used for applications as long as its contact with air is excluded. For example, lithium-containing components in lithium-ion batteries are also used in isolation because they ignite in contact with air," explains study co-author Dmitry Medvedev, head of the Hydrogen Energy Laboratory at the Ural Federal University.

Barium stannate is an oxide of barium and tin, a transparent semiconductor with proton, mixed ion-electron or ternary conductivity. In recent years, it has attracted the attention of scientists and developers because of its properties. It has high carrier mobility, chemical and temperature stability, and optical transparency. Its properties can be optimized by introducing various components into the material. Ural chemists have managed to do that.

The Hydrogen Energy Laboratory at the Ural Federal University synthesizes new materials and studies the properties of recently discovered materials. In the future they can be used in electrochemical devices - electrolyzers, fuel cells - for hydrogen energy. These materials are "raw materials" for electrodes, electrolytes, which will be elements of energy conversion devices. Electrolyzers, for example, convert electrical energy into chemical energy, resulting in hydrogen. Fuel cells do the opposite, converting hydrogen fuel into electrical energy.

"When we talk about high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells, they operate at temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius. It does not make sense to use them in hydrogen-powered cars. However, they could be useful in fueling stations for such cars. The problem is that hydrogen is volatile, and transporting it in cylinders is dangerous. Therefore, hydrogen can be produced directly at the fueling station using such an electrolyzer. This is one of the applications of such materials," says Pavel Pershin, director of the UrFU Research Institute of Hydrogen Energy.

In addition, there is a demand for hydrogen in metallurgical plants, which can also benefit from such systems. Fuel cells can be installed in places where electrification is difficult - in fields, remote villages, homes.

Funding: The research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (Project No. 075-03-2021-051/5).

Published in journalJournal of Alloys and Compounds

Source/CreditUral Federal University

Reference Number: chm021023_01

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