Chang Sub Kim

Graduate Student
B.S. Physics, California Institute of Technology, 2013

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Development of Reversible Solid Oxide Cells
Authors: Chang Sub Kim and Harry L. Tuller
Sponsor: Skolkovo Foundation

Recent technological advances in photovoltaic cells have enabled efficient conversion of solar energy to electricity at low cost. However, solar radiation varies throughout the day, and excess electricity generated during the daytime is lost if not used. Electrolysis cells can convert the excess electrical energy into chemical fuels via electrolyzing water (H2O) or carbon dioxide (CO2) to hydrogen (H2) or carbon monoxide (CO), respectively. The excess energy stored in chemical form can be converted back to electricity by operating solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). Conversion of energy into chemical fuels via electrolysis is advantageous over storage in batteries given potentially reduced costs and the high energy density of chemical fuels. A reversible SOC can operate as an electrolysis cell during the day, and as a fuel cell at night. It has been shown that typical SOFCs can be efficiently operated as both fuel cells and electrolysis cells, but with significant degradation. This degradation is mainly due to the redox instability of the electrodes in reverse operating mode. While symmetric solid oxide cells with redox stable electrodes have been investigated, their performance was substantially lower than the state-of-the-art SOFCs. In this project, we are investigating new redox stable electrode materials with high mixed (electrical and ionic) conductivity in both highly oxidizing and reducing conditions.