Modification of a first-generation solid oxide fuel cell cathode with Co<inf>3</inf>O<inf>4</inf> nanocubes having selectively exposed crystal planes

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Materials for Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 2019, 8 (3)
Issue Date:
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© 2019, The Author(s). Co3O4 nanocubes with exposed (001) planes were prepared and employed for use as first-generation Sr-doped LaMnO3 (LSM) cathodes in solid oxide fuel cells to improve the cell performance. Theoretical simulations suggest that the Co3O4 (001) plane has the smallest oxygen adsorption and oxygen dissociation energies compared with other planes, thus favouring cathode reactions in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). Experimental studies consistently demonstrate that a cell using an LSM cathode made with Co3O4 nanocubes with selective (001) surfaces exhibits a peak power density of 500 mW cm−2 at 600 °C, while the power output for a cell using unselective (commercial) Co3O4 nanoparticles is only 179 mW cm−2 at the same temperature. The electrochemical study indicates that the use of Co3O4 nanoparticles with exposed (001) surfaces obviously accelerates the cathode reactions and thus decreases the polarisation resistance, which is the key to improving fuel cell performance. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using the crystal planes of metal oxides to improve the fuel cell performance and provides a new way to design SOFC cathodes.
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