Research is active on the patent pending technology titled, “Method of Forming Catalyst Layer by Single Step Infiltration.” This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) performance is directly dependent on electrode catalytic activity and durability. One method that has been used to produce electrodes with high electrocatalytic activity and stability is solution infiltration—the depositing of nano-sized particles into the porous electrode microstructure structure of a SOFC.
Current infiltration methods require manual application of solution mixtures using a low electrocatalyst concentration in order to prevent agglomeration at the electrode’s surface. Manual, laboratory-scale methods are not a commercially feasible approach to electrode manufacturing due to a lack of homogeneity and controllability of the infiltration process, which can impact electrode performance and degradation.
NETL has developed a single step infiltration method that delivers a critical threshold mass of electrocatalytically active material into the porous electrode microstructure using controlled solution chemistry and a solution atomization process.
The method eliminates the need for the multiple heat-treatment steps required to deliver the optimal amount of catalyst materials into the porous electrode. The infiltration method has been developed for increased transport into the electrode microstructure through optimization of process variables including substrate temperature, surfactant concentration, and chelating agent use. The new method is anticipated to overcome the limitations of current processes, leading to commercial-scale manufacturing of electrodes with improved performance and durability.
Manufacture of SOFC electrodes
Incorporation of functional coatings into membranes and sensor elements
Other processes where the uniform coating of a porous microstructure is required