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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/F009720/1
Title: New Research Directions for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Science and Engineering
Principal Investigator: Atkinson, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Skinner, Professor SJ Kilner, Professor JA Brandon, Professor NP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Materials
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Platform Grants
Starts: 01 March 2008 Ends: 28 February 2013 Value (£): 902,045
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fuel Cell Technologies Materials Characterisation
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Jun 2007 Platforms Panel June 2007 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The efficient generation of electrical power is a high priority for the developed world in order to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and thus mitigate the effects of global warming. Fuel cells offer the promise of increased generation efficiency in applications encompassing large (> 1MW) stationary electrical power, small (< 10 kW) Combined Heat and Power units for applications such as domestic use, and transport (road vehicles, ships, trains and aircraft). Of the many fuel cell types, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) have the greatest flexibility in fuel type. They can work efficiently with existing hydrocarbon fossil fuels and carbon-neutral alternatives (such as bio-ethanol) and in addition they are easily fuelled by hydrogen, compatible with the introduction of the hydrogen economy. There is strong research and development interest in SOFCs world wide and the companies developing them have achieved impressive technical success. However, commercialisation on a large scale remains elusive and the key barriers are recognised to be durability and cost (to which contribute: performance, materials, manufacturing and system simplicity, especially with regard to running on practical carbon-containing fuels).Through this Platform Grant, the SOFC team at Imperial College aims to build on its past success in this field and explore new directions to address some of the fundamental issues underlying the problems of performance and durability of SOFCs. The thrust of the work is to build capability in new approaches and techniques which will be developed and assessed for their ability to improve knowledge of the underpinning science and engineering. The most promising avenues will then be expanded into focused individual research projects outside the Platform Grant. An integrated approach to the multi-scale modelling (from atoms to systems) of SOFCs will be initiated so that new materials or designs can be identified and their overall impact assessed without having to build complete systems. New techniques will be developed to interrogate working SOFCs and components (in order to understand more details of the electrochemical reactions taking place) and the complex microstructures of the porous composite materials that are used as electrodes. These will be supplemented by advances in techniques to study electrical and mass transport in the materials and across interfaces within, or between, them. The information will be used to guide the development of materials and structures with improved performance and durability (long term ageing, thermo-mechanical stability and simpler operation with carbon-containing fuels). In addition a new application area for SOFCs will be explored, namely: micro-engineered SOFCs for low power applications, such as electronic devices.These goals will be pursued through collaborations with leading international research groups in the UK, Europe, USA and Japan and with the UK SOFC industry.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk