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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W033178/1
Title: Scalable metamaterial thermally sprayed catalyst coatings for nuclear reactor high temperature solid oxide steam electrolysis (METASIS)
Principal Investigator: Faisal, Professor NH
Other Investigators:
Cai, Dr Q Amini Horri, Dr B Hossain, Professor M
Prathuru, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: Robert Gordon University
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2022 Ends: 31 March 2023 Value (£): 240,883
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Feb 2022 Production and integration of zero carbon hydrogen research call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK government has set an ambitious target of reaching net-Zero by 2050. Hydrogen has been considered to the energy vector to meet the target. However, a step change in technology is needed to produce enough green hydrogen to meet the target. One of the most promising new avenues for green hydrogen production is to combine the development of a highly active electrode layers for solid oxide steam electrolysis (SOSE) with the waste steam generated from nuclear power plant.

This project will develop an advance solution for zero emission hydrogen production by designing, fabricating, and testing thermally sprayed (air plasma spray) novel metasurface coatings of electrodes (tubular cell design) for solid oxide steam electrolysis (SOSE). While metasurface design for electrode is new, the tubular cell design has received increased attention in recent years, and among the different geometric design of electrode, the tubular design offers several advantages (e.g., alleviates issues associated with high temperature sealing as seals can be placed outside of high temperature zone, can have high active surface area, can be robust against thermal cycling, etc).

To achieve this, we need to benchmark the new design of electrolyser for high temperature (e.g., 700-900 C) steam deployment applications. The design will include structural (finite element analysis) and computational fluid dynamics analysis of the cell and develop understanding of its operational configurations with focus on structural and thermo-mechanical loads, incidental loads, and durability, including responses to the various loads (e.g., pressure fluctuations, temperature, and mechanical stresses). The material plays an important part in electrolysis, and therefore different electrode/electrolyte materials will be considered while manufacturing screen printing/spin coating method along with appropriate sintering processes. Following which, the cell (tubular samples as test coupon electrodes) will be fabricated using a combination of electrolyte. cathode, and anode from the materials list of choice using thermal spray (air plasma spray or APS) technique with cathode as metasurface at an industrial facility. We will then make solid oxide steam electrolyser prototype using the best design and materials choices. We will assess the overall viability of a modular design (a small container) with single tubular cell assembly. The single tubular assembly (or the electrolyser) will be tested at temperature as high as 900 C and will establish correlation between metasurface design and materials for optimum efficiency, including establishing mechanism of redox/transport processes and electro-chemical reactions. And finally, we will demonstrate the effect of materials, cell design and operational parameters on efficiency.

Developing electrolyser cells with enhanced hydrogen production and their scalable manufacturing can play an important role in enabling not only eco-friendly development but also cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable opportunities. This project has the potential to advance technology to produce green hydrogen and thus we will exploit the outcomes through a spin-out company or licensing to commercialise the product.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.rgu.ac.uk