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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P009050/1
Title: Elucidation of membrane interface chemistry for electro-chemical processes
Principal Investigator: Holmes, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Martin, Professor P Brett, Professor D Haigh, Professor SJ
Metcalfe, Professor IS Shearing, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
C-Tech Innovation Ltd Horiba UK Ltd ITM Power Plc
Johnson Matthey Protochips Inc.
Department: Chem Eng and Analytical Science
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2017 Ends: 31 August 2021 Value (£): 1,675,667
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Fuel Cell Technologies
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Sep 2016 EPSRC Physical Sciences - September 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Fuel cells have been promoted as a pollution free alternative for energy generation. However, there are several constraints, based around the materials used, which have limited the implementation of this technology. This proposal provides the understanding of the chemical processes occurring in the materials and at the interfaces between the materials which drive the technology and the changes this chemistry causes to the materials. This will enable the design of fuel cell systems and choice of materials to mitigate these changes which reduce performance.

The electro-chemical processes which occur in fuel cells (both high and low temperature systems) are not unique to this technology and to demonstrate the efficacy of the study across all temperature ranges (from room temperature to 1200oC) we will also look at the separation of CO2 using dual phase membranes. While still an emerging technology, these membranes encounter similar problems to fuel cells and are extremely exciting as potential short term solutions for existing energy generation systems where CO2 is generated.

Several extremely powerful, cutting edge, analytical techniques are available which when applied in real time will allow the observation of the chemistry at atomic level. As a consequence the changes caused by operation of the system can be identified and explained. This project couples the application of existing state-of-the-art techniques with the development of these techniques where necessary to allow researchers to follow the changes as the chemical transformation of fuels into power, or CO2 separation, occur.

The potential benefit of this work is that the route to market for all three technologies will be enhanced by a deeper understanding of the chemistry. Hence, the environmental potential of the adoption of these systems will be realised. In addition, the ability to follow processes within working systems will be of great interest to the scientific community working in parallel disciplines such as the design of barriers to prevent corrosion.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk