402 results found
Chen X, Liu X, Ouyang M, et al., 2019, Multi-metal 4D printing with a desktop electrochemical 3D printer, Scientific Reports, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2045-2322
4D printing has the potential to create complex 3D geometries which are able to react to environmental stimuli opening new design possibilities. However, the vast majority of 4D printing approaches use polymer based materials, which limits the operational temperature. Here, we present a novel multi-metal electrochemical 3D printer which is able to fabricate bimetallic geometries and through the selective deposition of different metals, temperature responsive behaviour can thus be programmed into the printed structure. The concept is demonstrated through a meniscus confined electrochemical 3D printing approach with a multi-print head design with nickel and copper used as exemplar systems but this is transferable to other deposition solutions. Improvements in deposition speed (34% (Cu)-85% (Ni)) are demonstrated with an electrospun nanofibre nib compared to a sponge based approach as the medium for providing hydrostatic back pressure to balance surface tension in order to form a electrolyte meniscus stable. Scanning electron microscopy, X-ray computed tomography and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy shows that bimetallic structures with a tightly bound interface can be created, however convex cross sections are created due to uneven current density. Analysis of the thermo-mechanical properties of the printed strips shows that mechanical deformations can be generated in Cu-Ni strips at temperatures up to 300 °C which is due to the thermal expansion coefficient mismatch generating internal stresses in the printed structures. Electrical conductivity measurements show that the bimetallic structures have a conductivity between those of nanocrystalline copper (5.41×106 S.m−1) and nickel (8.2×105 S.m-1). The potential of this novel low-cost multi-metal 3D printing approach is demonstrated with the thermal actuation of an electrical circuit and a range of self-assembling structures.
Gayon Lombardo A, Simon BA, Taiwo O, et al., 2019, A pore network model of porous electrodes in electrochemical devices, Journal of Energy Storage, Vol: 24
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd A computationally efficient pore network model (PNM) has been developed to incorporate the transport and electrochemical phenomena occurring within porous electrodes. This PNM is validated on a synthetic cubic structure and subsequently run on a network obtained from X-ray computed tomography (X-CT) images of a sample of commercial porous carbon paper commonly used in electrochemical devices. The carbon paper's physical characteristics (pore-size distribution, permeability, porosity and electroactive surface area) are discussed. The concentration distribution of active species is examined considering solely the transient convective and diffusive transport processes initially, and subsequently is compared to the concentration of active species when migration and reactive transport factors are included. The results show non-uniformity in the concentration and pressure distributions in the electrode when considering the pure convective/diffusive transport processes. The migration and reactive processes are subsequently considered and are shown to be influenced by the rate in which the convective/diffusive flow permeates the electrode. A uniform steady decline in volume-averaged state of charge is shown, followed by a pore-scale non-uniform current density and state of charge distribution upon discharge. These results were obtained on a standard single core workstation highlighting the benefits of using a computationally inexpensive model.
Crow DJG, Balcombe P, Brandon N, et al., 2019, Assessing the impact of future greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas production, Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 668, Pages: 1242-1258, ISSN: 0048-9697
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by the extraction of natural gas are an important contributor to lifecycle emissions and account for a significant fraction of anthropogenic methane emissions in the USA. The timing as well as the magnitude of these emissions matters, as the short term climate warming impact of methane is up to 120 times that of CO 2 . This study uses estimates of CO 2 and methane emissions associated with different upstream operations to build a deterministic model of GHG emissions from conventional and unconventional gas fields as a function of time. By combining these emissions with a dynamic, techno-economic model of gas supply we assess their potential impact on the value of different types of project and identify stranded resources in various carbon price scenarios. We focus in particular on the effects of different emission metrics for methane, using the global warming potential (GWP) and the global temperature potential (GTP), with both fixed 20-year and 100-year CO 2 -equivalent values and in a time-dependent way based on a target year for climate stabilisation. We report a strong time dependence of emissions over the lifecycle of a typical field, and find that bringing forward the stabilisation year dramatically increases the importance of the methane contribution to these emissions. Using a commercial database of the remaining reserves of individual projects, we use our model to quantify future emissions resulting from the extraction of current US non-associated reserves. A carbon price of at least 400 USD/tonne CO 2 is effective in reducing cumulative GHGs by 30–60%, indicating that decarbonising the upstream component of the natural gas supply chain is achievable using carbon prices similar to those needed to decarbonise the energy system as a whole. Surprisingly, for large carbon prices, the choice of emission metric does not have a significant impact on cumulative emissions.
© 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim Reversible solid oxide cells (rSOCs) are highly efficient devices, which allow either the generation of electric power or the storage of energy via fuel production. In this paper, the characteristics of the mode switch are investigated by applying a dynamic 3D stack model. The responses of temperature, current density, and species mole fractions regarding a switch from storage (SOEC) to generation mode (SOFC) are examined in detail. Additionally, the impact of using excess air and continuous voltage variations to limit temperature gradients and fluctuations during the mode switch are analyzed.
Ouyang M, Boldrin P, Maher R, et al., 2019, A mechanistic study of the interactions between methane and nickel supported on doped ceria, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, ISSN: 0926-3373
A novel combined method using modified methane pulses and in-situ Raman spectroscopy together with mass spectrometry is applied to impregnated Ni/gadolinium-doped ceria (CGO). The partial oxidation of methane is deduced to proceed via a Mars-van-Krevelen type mechanism composed of initial methane decomposition together with carbon oxidation by oxygen from CGO. The critical role of the ceria surface and the bulk oxygen in the reaction is defined in detail. Oxygen is a necessary reactant in the reaction, as well as inhibiting carbon deposition. Oxygen spill-over is the driving force for the carbon oxidation and the ceria surface oxygen is resupplied by bulk oxygen after depletion. Bulk migration of oxygen to the surface is the rate-determining step. We also demonstrate that the ceria oxygen stoichiometry significantly affects the type of reaction and the rate of reaction between methane and Ni/CGO: The total oxidation of methane happens only when the oxygen stoichiometry is high while the oxygen spill-over rate decreases with decreasing oxygen stoichiometry, which reduces the rate of carbon elimination and results in reduction in the rate of methane oxidation. This work lays out a comprehensive evaluation methodology and provides important insights for future design of methane oxidation catalysts for solid oxide fuel cells, and more widely for methane reforming with different oxidants (steam, CO2, NO2 etc).
Song B, Bertei A, Wang X, et al., Unveiling the mechanisms of solid-state dewetting in Solid Oxide Cells with novel 2D electrodes, Journal of Power Sources, ISSN: 0378-7753
During the operation of Solid Oxide Cell (SOC) fuel electrodes, the mobility of nickel can lead to significant changes in electrode morphology, with accompanying degradation in electrochemical performance. In this work, the dewetting of nickel films supported on yttriastabilized zirconia (YSZ), hereafter called 2D cells, is studied by coupling in-situ environmentalscanning electron microscopy (E-SEM), image analysis, cellular automata simulation and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). Analysis of experimental E-SEM images shows that Ni dewetting causes an increase in active triple phase boundary (aTPB) length up to a maximum, after which a sharp decrease in aTPB occurs due to Ni de-percolation. Thismicrostructural evolution is consistent with the EIS response, which shows a minimum in polarization resistance followed by a rapid electrochemical degradation. These results reveal that neither evaporation-condensation nor surface diffusion of Ni are the main mechanisms of dewetting at 560-800 °C. Rather, the energy barrier for pore nucleation within the dense Ni film appears to be the most important factor. This sheds light on the relevant mechanisms and interfaces that must be controlled to reduce the electrochemical degradation of SOC electrodes induced by Ni dewetting.
Trudgeon DP, Qiu K, Li X, et al., 2019, Screening of effective electrolyte additives for zinc-based redox flow battery systems, JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES, Vol: 412, Pages: 44-54, ISSN: 0378-7753
Speirs J, Balcombe P, Blomerus P, et al., 2019, Can natural gas reduce emissions from transport?: Heavy goods vehicles and shipping
Liu X, Taiwo O, Yin C, et al., 2019, Aligned lonogel electrolytes for high‐temperature supercapacitors, Advanced Science, ISSN: 2198-3844
Ionogels are a new class of promising materials for use in all‐solid‐state energy storage devices in which they can function as an integrated separator and electrolyte. However, their performance is limited by the presence of a crosslinking polymer, which is needed to improve the mechanical properties, but compromises their ionic conductivity. Here, directional freezing is used followed by a solvent replacement method to prepare aligned nanocomposite ionogels which exhibit enhanced ionic conductivity, good mechanical strength, and thermal stability simultaneously. The aligned ionogel based supercapacitor achieves a 29% higher specific capacitance (176 F g−1 at 25 °C and 1 A g−1) than an equivalent nonaligned form. Notably, this thermally stable aligned ionogel has a high ionic conductivity of 22.1 mS cm−1 and achieves a high specific capacitance of 167 F g−1 at 10 A g−1 and 200 °C. Furthermore, the diffusion simulations conducted on 3D reconstructed tomography images are employed to explain the improved conductivity in the relevant direction of the aligned structure compared to the nonaligned. This work demonstrates the synthesis, analysis, and use of aligned ionogels as supercapacitor separators and electrolytes, representing a promising direction for the development of wearable electronics coupled with image based process and simulations.
Electrochemical energy storage is a key enabling technology for further integration of renewables sources. Redox flow batteries (RFBs) are promising candidates for such applications as a result of their durability, efficiency and fast response. However, deployment of existing RFBs is hindered by the relatively high cost of the (typically vanadium-based) electrolyte. Manganese is an earth-abundant and inexpensive element that is widely used in disposable alkaline batteries. However it has hitherto been little explored for RFBs due to the instability of Mn(III) leading to precipitation of MnO2 via a disproportionation reaction. Here we show that by combining the facile hydrogen negative electrode reaction with electrolytes that suppress Mn(III) disproportionation, it is possible to construct a hydrogen/manganese hybrid RFB with high round trip energy efficiency (82%), and high power and energy density (1410 mW cm−2, 33 Wh l−1), at an estimated 70% cost reduction compared to vanadium redox flow batteries.
Song W, Liu X, Wu B, et al., 2018, Sn@C evolution from yolk-shell to core-shell in carbon nanofibers with suppressed degradation of lithium storage, Energy Storage Materials, ISSN: 2405-8297
Metallic Sn has high conductivity and high theoretical capacity for lithium storage but it suffers from severe volume change in lithiation/delithiation leading to capacity fade. Yolk-shell and core-shell Sn@C spheres interconnected by carbon nanofibers were synthesized by thermal vapor and thermal melting of electrospun nanofibers to improve the cycling stability. Sn particles in yolk-shell spheres undergo dynamic structure evolution during thermal melting to form core-shell spheres. The core-shell spheres linked along the carbon nanofibers show outstanding performance and are better than the yolk-shell system for lithium storage, with a high capacity retention of 91.8% after 1000 cycles at 1 A g-1. The superior structure of core-shell spheres interconnected by carbon nanofibers has facile electron conductivity and short lithium ion diffusion pathways through the carbon nanofibers and shells, and re-develops Sn@C structures with Sn clusters embedded into carbon matrix during electrochemical cycling, enabling the high performance.
Yufit V, Tariq F, Biton M, et al., 2018, Operando visualisation and multi-scale tomography studies of dendrite formation and dissolution in zinc batteries, Joule, ISSN: 2542-4351
Alternative battery technologies are required to meet growing energy demands and address the limitations of present technologies. As such, it is necessary to look beyond lithium-ion batteries. Zinc batteries enable high power density while being sourced from ubiquitous and cost-effective materials. This paper presents, for the first time known to the authors, multi-length scale tomography studies of failure mechanisms in zinc batteries with and without commercial microporous separators. In both cases, dendrites were grown, dissolved, and regrown, critically resulting in different morphology of dendritic layer formed on both the electrode and the separator. The growth of dendrites and their volume-specific areas were quantified using tomography and radiography data in unprecedented resolution. High-resolution ex situ analysis was employed to characterize single dendrites and dendritic deposits inside the separator. The findings provide unique insights into mechanisms of metal-battery failure effected by growing dendrites.
Budinis S, Krevor S, Mac Dowell N, et al., 2018, An assessment of CCS costs, barriers and potential, Energy Strategy Reviews, Vol: 22, Pages: 61-81, ISSN: 2211-467X
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Global decarbonisation scenarios include Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as a key technology to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power and industrial sectors. However, few large scale CCS plants are operating worldwide. This mismatch between expectations and reality is caused by a series of barriers which are preventing this technology from being adopted more widely. The goal of this paper is to identify and review the barriers to CCS development, with a focus on recent cost estimates, and to assess the potential of CCS to enable access to fossil fuels without causing dangerous levels of climate change. The result of the review shows that no CCS barriers are exclusively technical, with CCS cost being the most significant hurdle in the short to medium term. In the long term, CCS is found to be very cost effective when compared with other mitigation options. Cost estimates exhibit a high range, which depends on process type, separation technology, CO2transport technique and storage site. CCS potential has been quantified by comparing the amount of fossil fuels that could be used globally with and without CCS. In modelled energy system transition pathways that limit global warming to less than 2 °C, scenarios without CCS result in 26% of fossil fuel reserves being consumed by 2050, against 37% being consumed when CCS is available. However, by 2100, the scenarios without CCS have only consumed slightly more fossil fuel reserves (33%), whereas scenarios with CCS available end up consuming 65% of reserves. It was also shown that the residual emissions from CCS facilities is the key factor limiting long term uptake, rather than cost. Overall, the results show that worldwide CCS adoption will be critical if fossil fuel reserves are to continue to be substantively accessed whilst still meeting climate targets.
Balcombe P, Speirs JF, Brandon NP, et al., 2018, Methane emissions: choosing the right climate metric and time horizon, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, Vol: 20, Pages: 1323-1339, ISSN: 2050-7895
Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas (GHG) than CO2, but it has a shorter atmospheric lifespan, thus its relative climate impact reduces significantly over time. Different GHGs are often conflated into a single metric to compare technologies and supply chains, such as the global warming potential (GWP). However, the use of GWP is criticised, regarding: (1) the need to select a timeframe; (2) its physical basis on radiative forcing; and (3) the fact that it measures the average forcing of a pulse over time rather than a sustained emission at a specific end-point in time. Many alternative metrics have been proposed which tackle different aspects of these limitations and this paper assesses them by their key attributes and limitations, with respect to methane emissions. A case study application of various metrics is produced and recommendations are made for the use of climate metrics for different categories of applications. Across metrics, CO2 equivalences for methane range from 4–199 gCO2eq./gCH4, although most estimates fall between 20 and 80 gCO2eq./gCH4. Therefore the selection of metric and time horizon for technology evaluations is likely to change the rank order of preference, as demonstrated herein with the use of natural gas as a shipping fuel versus alternatives. It is not advisable or conservative to use only a short time horizon, e.g. 20 years, which disregards the long-term impacts of CO2 emissions and is thus detrimental to achieving eventual climate stabilisation. Recommendations are made for the use of metrics in 3 categories of applications. Short-term emissions estimates of facilities or regions should be transparent and use a single metric and include the separated contribution from each GHG. Multi-year technology assessments should use both short and long term static metrics (e.g. GWP) to test robustness of results. Longer term energy assessments or decarbonisation pathways must use both short and long-term metrics and where this has a lar
Crow DJG, Anderson K, Hawkes AD, et al., 2018, Impact of drilling costs on the US gas industry: prospects for automation, Energies, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1996-1073
Recent low gas prices have greatly increased pressure on drilling companies to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Field trials have shown that implementing automation can dramatically reduce drilling costs by reducing the time required to drill wells. This study uses the DYNamic upstreAm gAs MOdel (DYNAAMO), a new techno-economic, bottom-up model of natural gas supply, to quantitatively assess the economic impact of lower drilling costs on the US upstream gas industry. A sensitivity analysis of three key economic indicators is presented, with results quoted for the most common field types currently producing, including unconventional and offshore gas. While all operating environments show increased profitability from drilling automation, it is found that conventional onshore reserves can benefit to the greatest extent. For large gas fields, a 50% reduction in drilling costs is found to reduce initial project breakevens by up to 17 million USD per billion cubic metres (MUSD/BCM) and mid-plateau breakevens by up to 8 MUSD/BCM. In this same scenario, additional volumes of around 160 BCM of unconventional gas are shown to become commercial due to both the lower costs of additional production wells in mature fields and the viability of developing new resources held in smaller fields. The capital efficiency of onshore projects increases by 50%-100%, with initial project net present value (NPV) gains of up to 32%.
Tariq F, Rubio-Garcia J, Yufit V, et al., 2018, Uncovering the mechanisms of electrolyte permeation in porous electrodes for redox flow batteries through real time in situ 3D imaging, SUSTAINABLE ENERGY & FUELS, Vol: 2, Pages: 2068-2080, ISSN: 2398-4902
Zhang D, Cai Q, Taiwo OO, et al., 2018, The effect of wetting area in carbon paper electrode on the performance of vanadium redox flow batteries: A three-dimensional lattice Boltzmann study, Electrochimica Acta, Vol: 283, Pages: 1806-1819, ISSN: 0013-4686
The vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) has emerged as a promising technology for large-scale storage of intermittent power generated from renewable energy sources due to its advantages such as scalability, high energy efficiency and low cost. In the current study, a three-dimensional(3D) Lattice Boltzmann model is developed to simulate the transport mechanisms of electrolyte flow, species and charge in the vanadium redox flow battery at the micro pore scale. An electrochemical model using the Butler-Volmer equation is used to provide species and charge coupling at the surface of active electrode. The detailed structure of the carbon paper electrode is obtained using X-ray Computed Tomography(CT). The new model developed in the paper is able to predict the local concentration of different species, over-potential and current density profiles under charge/discharge conditions. The simulated capillary pressure as a function of electrolyte volume fraction for electrolyte wetting process in carbon paper electrode is presented. Different wet surface area of carbon paper electrode correspond to different electrolyte volume fraction in pore space of electrode. The model is then used to investigate the effect of wetting area in carbon paper electrode on the performance of vanadium redox flow battery. It is found that the electrochemical performance of positive half cell is reduced with air bubbles trapped inside the electrode.
Bertei A, Yufit V, Tariq F, et al., 2018, A novel approach for the quantification of inhomogeneous 3D current distribution in fuel cell electrodes, Journal of Power Sources, Vol: 369, Pages: 246-256, ISSN: 0378-7753
The electrode microstructural properties significantly influence the efficiency and durability of many electrochemical devices including solid oxide fuel cells. Despite the possibility of simulating the electrochemical phenomena within real three-dimensional microstructures, the potential of such 3D microstructural information has not yet been fully exploited. We introduce here a completely new methodology for the advanced characterization of inhomogeneous current distribution based on a statistical analysis of the current of each particle within the microstructure. We quantify the large variation in local current distributionand link it to the particle size dispersion, indicating how particle coarsening can trigger further degradation. We identify two classes of particles: those transferring more current than average, which show 10-40% more particle-particle contacts, and those producing more current than average, characterized by ~2.5 times larger three-phase boundary length per unit volume. These two classes of particles are mutually exclusive, which implies that up to the 30% of the electrode volume within the functional layer is underutilized. This fundamental insight goes well beyond the predictions of continuum modeling, allowing us to revisit the current standards regarding safe operating conditions and to suggest alternative strategies based on nanoparticle infiltration, template-assisted synthesis and additive manufacturing for designing more durable electrodes.
Song B, Ruiz-Trejo E, Brandon N, 2018, Enhanced mechanical stability of Ni-YSZ scaffold demonstrated by nanoindentation and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Journal of Power Sources, Vol: 395, Pages: 205-211, ISSN: 0378-7753
The electrochemical performance of Ni-YSZ SOFC anodes can quickly degrade during redox cycling. Mechanical damage at interfaces significantly decreases the number of active triple phase boundaries. This study firstly focuses on the sintering temperature impact on YSZ scaffold mechanical properties. The YSZ scaffold sintered at 1200 °C exhibited 56% porosity, 28.3 GPa elastic modulus and 0.97 GPa hardness and was selected for further redox cycling study. The Ni infiltrated YSZ scaffold operated at 550 °C had an initial stabilized polarisation resistance equal to 0.62 Ω cm2 and only degraded to 2.85 Ω cm2 after 15 redox cycles. The active triple phase boundary density was evaluated by FIB-SEM tomography, and degraded from 28.54 μm−2 to 19.36 μm−2. The YSZ scaffold structure was robust after 15 redox cycles, as there was no observation of the framework fracturing in both SEM and FIB-SEM images, which indicated that the mechanical stability of YSZ scaffold improves the anode stability during redox cycling. Nonetheless, Ni agglomeration could not be prevented within Ni-YSZ scaffolds and this needs further consideration.
Balcombe P, Speirs J, Johnson E, et al., 2018, The carbon credentials of hydrogen gas networks and supply chains, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 91, Pages: 1077-1088, ISSN: 1364-0321
Projections of decarbonisation pathways have typically involved reducing dependence on natural gas grids via greater electrification of heat using heat pumps or even electric heaters. However, many technical, economic and consumer barriers to electrification of heat persist. The gas network holds value in relation to flexibility of operation, requiring simpler control and enabling less expensive storage. There may be value in retaining and repurposing gas infrastructure where there are feasible routes to decarbonisation. This study quantifies and analyses the decarbonisation potential associated with the conversion of gas grids to deliver hydrogen, focusing on supply chains. Routes to produce hydrogen for gas grids are categorised as: reforming natural gas with (or without) carbon capture and storage (CCS); gasification of coal with (or without) CCS; gasification of biomass with (or without) CCS; electrolysis using low carbon electricity. The overall range of greenhouse gas emissions across routes is extremely large, from − 371 to 642 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 . Therefore, when including supply chain emissions, hydrogen can have a range of carbon intensities and cannot be assumed to be low carbon. Emissions estimates for natural gas reforming with CCS lie in the range of 23–150 g/kW h H2 , with CCS typically reducing CO 2 emissions by 75%. Hydrogen from electrolysis ranges from 24 to 178 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 for renewable electricity sources, where wind electricity results in the lowest CO 2 emissions. Solar PV electricity typically exhibits higher emissions and varies significantly by geographical region. The emissions from upstream supply chains is a major contributor to total emissions and varies considerably across different routes to hydrogen. Biomass gasification is characterised by very large negative emissions in the supply chain and very large positive emissions in the gasification process. Therefore, improvements in total emissions are large if even small i
Gadoue S, Chen K-W, Mitcheson P, et al., 2018, Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy State of Charge Measurement for Batteries using Power Converter Modulation, 9th International Renewable Energy Congress (IREC), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2378-3435
Chen X, Liu X, Childs P, et al., 2018, Design and fabrication of a low cost desktop electrochemical 3D printer, Pro-AM Conference in 2014, Pages: 395-400, ISSN: 2424-8967
Copyright © 2018 by Nanyang Technological University. Additive manufacturing (AM) (3D printing) is the process of creating 3D objects from digital models through the layer by layer deposition of materials. Electrochemical additive manufacturing (ECAM) is a relatively new technique which can create metallic components based depositing adherent layers of metal ions onto the surface of conductive substrate. In this paper, the design considerations for a meniscus confined ECAM approach is presented which demonstrates superior print speeds to equivalent works. This is achieved through the increase of the meniscus diameter to 400 \im which was achieved through the integration of a porous sponge into the print head to balance the hydraulic head of the electrolyte. Other piston based methods of controlling the electrolyte meniscus are discussed.
There is an ongoing debate over future decarbonisation of gas networks using biomethane, and increasingly hydrogen, in gas network infrastructure. Some emerging research presents gas network decarbonisation options as a tractable alternative to ‘all-electric’ scenarios that use electric appliances to deliver the traditional gas services such as heating and cooking. However, there is some uncertainty as to the technical feasibility, cost and carbon emissions of gas network decarbonisation options. In response to this debate the Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College London has conducted a rigorous systematic review of the evidence surrounding gas network decarbonisation options. The study focuses on the technologies used to generate biomethane and hydrogen, and examines the technical potentials, economic costs and emissions associated with the full supply chains involved. The following summarises the main findings of this research. The report concludes that there are a number of options that could significantly decarbonise the gas network, and doing so would provide energy system flexibility utilising existing assets. However, these options will be more expensive than the existing gas system, and the GHG intensity of these options may vary significantly. In addition, more research is required, particularly in relation to the capabilities of existing pipework to transport hydrogen safely.
We present an all-fiber flexible supercapacitor with composite nanofiber electrodes made via electrospinning and an electrospun separator. With the addition of manganese acetylacetonate (MnACAC) to polyacrylonitrile (PAN) as a precursor for the electrospinning process and subsequent heat treatment, the performance of pure PAN supercapacitors was improved from 90 F.g-1 to 200 F.g-1 (2.5 mV.s-1) with possible mass loadings of MnACAC demonstrated as high as 40 wt%. X-ray diffraction measurements showed that after thermal treatment, the MnACAC was converted to MnO, meanwile, the thermal decomposition of MnACAC increased the graphitic degree of the carbonised PAN. Scanning electron microscopy and image processing showed that static electrospinning of pure PAN and PAN-Mn resulted in fiber diameters of 460 nm and 480 nm respectively after carbonisation. Further analysis showed that the fiber orientation exhibited a slight bias which was amplified with the addition of MnACAC. Use of focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy tomography also showed that MnO particles were evenly distributed through the fiber at low MnACAC concentrations, while at a 40 wt% loading the MnO particles were also visible on the surface. Comparison of the electrospun separators showed improved performance relative to a commercial Celgard separator (200 F.g-1 vs 141 F.g-1).
Mazur CM, Offer G, Contestabile MSM, et al., 2018, Comparing the effects of vehicle automation, policy making and changed user preferences on the uptake of electric cars and emissions from transport, Sustainability, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2071-1050
Switching energy demand for transport from liquid fuels to electricity is the most promising way to significantly improve air quality and reduce transport emissions. Previous studies have shown this is possible, that by 2035 the economics of alternative powertrain and energy vectors will have converged. However, they don’t address if the transition is likely or plausible. Using the UK as a case study, we present a systems dynamics model based study informed by transition theory and explore the effects of technology progress, policy making, user preferences and; for the first time, automated vehicles on this transition. We are not trying to predict the future, but to highlight what is necessary in order for different scenarios to become more or less likely. Worryingly we show that current policies with the expected technology progress and expectations of vehicle buyers are insufficient to reach global targets. Faster technology progress, strong financial incentives or a change in vehicle buyer expectations are crucial, but still insufficient. In contrast the biggest switch to alternatively fuelled vehicles could be achieved by the introduction of automated vehicles. The implications will affect policy makers, automotive manufactures, technology developers and broader society.
Hack J, Heenan TMM, Iacoviello F, et al., 2018, A structure and durability comparison of membrane electrode assembly fabrication methods: self-assembled versus hot-pressed, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Vol: 165, Pages: F3045-F3052, ISSN: 1945-7111
The most common means of fabricating membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) involves a hot-press step. The conditions used to perform the hot-press impacts the performance and durability of the fuel cell. However, the hot-press process is not essential for achieving operational MEAs and some practitioners dispense with the hot-press stage altogether by using a self-assembled approach. By performing the integration of the components in-situ during fuel cell assembly, there is the potential to lower the cost and time of manufacture. This study investigates the electrochemical performance and mechanical microstructure of MEAs that were either hot-pressed or self-assembled (non-hot-pressed) and compared at beginning-of-test (BOT) and end-of-test (EOT), following accelerated stress testing. Hot-pressed and self-assembled MEAs were found to show negligible difference in their performance and almost identical performance degradation. X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) showed distinct differences in the microstructure of the electrodes. In addition to a crack network in the catalyst layer, the self-assembled samples exhibit indentations that were not present in the hot-pressed sample. It was concluded that in-situ assembly of MEAs could be a suitable means of fabricating PEFC MEAs.
Wang X, Chen Z, Atkinson A, et al., 2018, Numerical study of solid oxide fuel cell contacting mechanics, Fuel Cells, Vol: 18, Pages: 42-50, ISSN: 1615-6846
Assembly of a planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) or solid electrolyzer (SOE) stack involves the lamination of cells and interconnect plates under an applied load. In most designs a pattern of ribs on the interconnector makes contact with a porous ceramic current collector layer on the air side. These localized contacts are regions of increased stress on the cells and can cause damage if the stresses become too large. In this paper the mechanical response of an anode-supported cell to localized loads from interconnector ribs is simulated. The simulations show that the critical stress for initiating and propagating a crack in the electrolyte (∼300MPa for a 10 μm thick electrolyte) is reached when the interconnector displacement reaches 20 μm (after touching the cathode) with reduced support, or 30 μm when in an oxidized state. The difference is due to the lower stiffness of the reduced support. The residual compressive stress in the electrolyte layer has a major protective effect for the electrolyte. It is concluded that fracture is very unlikely for a geometrically perfect contact, but if the contact is non-uniform due to manufacturing variability in the contact plate or cell, local displacements >∼20 μm can be dangerous. The simulations are used in an example of contacting geometry optimization.
Few SPM, Schmidt O, Offer GJ, et al., 2018, Prospective improvements in cost and cycle life of off-grid lithium-ion battery packs: An analysis informed by expert elicitations, Energy Policy, Vol: 114, Pages: 578-590, ISSN: 0301-4215
This paper presents probabilistic estimates of the 2020 and 2030 cost and cycle life of lithium-ion battery (LiB) packs for off-grid stationary electricity storage made by leading battery experts from academia and industry, and insights on the role of public research and development (R&D) funding and other drivers in determining these. By 2020, experts expect developments to arise chiefly through engineering, manufacturing and incremental chemistry changes, and expect additional R&D funding to have little impact on cost. By 2030, experts indicate that more fundamental chemistry changes are possible, particularly under higher R&D funding scenarios, but are not inevitable. Experts suggest that significant improvements in cycle life (eg. doubling or greater) are more achievable than in cost, particularly by 2020, and that R&D could play a greater role in driving these. Experts expressed some concern, but had relatively little knowledge, of the environmental impact of LiBs. Analysis is conducted of the implications of prospective LiB improvements for the competitiveness of solar photovoltaic + LiB systems for off-grid electrification.
Bertei A, Ruiz-Trejo E, Clematis D, et al., 2018, A perspective on the role of the three-phase boundary in solid oxide fuel cell electrodes, Bulgarian Chemical Communications, Vol: 50, Pages: 31-38, ISSN: 0861-9808
© 2018 Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Union of Chemists in Bulgaria. Within composite electrodes for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), electrochemical reactions take place in the proximity of the so-called three-phase boundary (TPB), the contact perimeter where the electron-conducting, the ionconducting and the porous phases meet. Strictly speaking, the TPB is a line and efforts have been made to increase its length per unit of electrode volume in order to reduce the activation losses. In this communication, by integrating physically-based modelling, 3D tomography and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), a renovated perspective on electrocatalysis in SOFCs is offered, showing that the electrochemical reactions take place within an extended region around the geometrical TPB line. Such an extended region is in the order of 4 nm in Ni/Sc0.2Zr0.9O 2 .1 (Ni/ScSZ) anodes while approaches hundreds of nanometres in La0.8Sr0.2MnO 3 -x/Y0.16Zr0.92O 2 .08 (LSM/YSZ) cathodes. These findings have significant implications for preventing the degradation of nanostructured anodes, which is due to the coarsening of the fractal roughness of Ni nanoparticles, as well as for the optimisation of composite cathodes, indicating that the adsorption and surface diffusion of oxygen limit the rate of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). In both anodes and cathodes, the results point out that the surface properties of the materials are key in determining the performance and lifetime of SOFC electrodes.
Munoz CAP, Dewage HH, Yufit V, et al., 2017, A unit cell model of a regenerative hydrogen-vanadium fuel cell, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Vol: 164, Pages: F1717-F1732, ISSN: 1945-7111
In this study, a time dependent model for a regenerative hydrogen-vanadium fuel cell is introduced. This lumped isothermal model is based on mass conservation and electrochemical kinetics, and it simulates the cell working potential considering the major ohmic resistances, a complete Butler–Volmer kinetics for the cathode overpotential and a Tafel–Volmer kinetics near mass-transport free conditions for the anode overpotential. Comparison of model simulations against experimental data was performed by using a 25 cm2 lab scale prototype operated in galvanostatic mode at different current density values (50−600Am−2). A complete Nernst equation derived from thermodynamic principles was fitted to open circuit potential data, enabling a global activity coefficient to be estimated. The model prediction of the cell potential of one single charge-discharge cycle at a current density of 400Am−2 was used to calibrate the model and a model validation was carried out against six additional data sets, which showed a reasonably good agreement between the model simulation of the cell potential and the experimental data with a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) in the range of 0.3–6.1% and 1.3–8.8% for charge and discharge, respectively. The results for the evolution of species concentrations in the cathode and anode are presented for one data set. The proposed model permits study of the key factors that limit the performance of the system and is capable of converging to a meaningful solution relatively fast (s–min).
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