Prof. Enrico Traversa is giving a seminar on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
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  • Prof. Enrico Traversa is giving a seminar on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

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Dear Materials Enthusiasts

Prof Enrico Traversa is giving a seminar on Solid Oxide fuel cells on Friday 11.09.2015. The talk will be at 11:00 in FENS G025

Enrico Traversa is Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia. He got in 1986 his “Laurea” (Italian Doctoral Degree), Summa cum Laude, in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rome La Sapienza. He joined the University of Rome Tor Vergata in 1988, where he held the role of Professor of Materials Science and Technology since 2000, and from 2001 to 2008 was the Director of the PhD Course of Materials for Health, Environment and Energy. Between January 2009 and March 2012, he was a Principal Investigator at the International Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Tsukuba, Japan, leading a unit on Sustainability Materials. From 2005 to date he is Graduate Faculty at the University of Florida, USA and in 2010-2012 was Adjunct Professor at Waseda University and at the University of Tokyo in Japan. He is the Director of the Department of Fuel Cell Research at the International Center for Renewable Energy, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China from April 2012.

Professor Enrico Traversa’s wide ranging research interests fall within the general framework of nanostructured materials for sustainable development including energy, environment, and healthcare. His recent research activity on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), includes work on chemically stable proton conducting oxide electrolytes, miniaturized SOFCs, hydrocarbon-fueled SOFCs, and reversible SOFCs for energy storage. He has authored more than 500 scientific papers, with over 330 published in refereed international journals, has 13 patents, and has edited 30 books and special issues on journals. He is listed in the Essential Science Indicators/Web of Science as a highly cited researcher, both in the Materials Science and Chemistry categories, and has an h-index of 51.

He was elected in 2007 to the World Academy of Ceramics, to the Advisory Board between 2010 and 2014, as a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society in 2013, and as a Fellow of the European Ceramic Society in 2015. In 2011 he was the recipient of the Ross Coffin Purdy Award of the American Ceramic Society for the best paper on ceramics published in 2010, and the “1000 Talent” Scholarship from the Government of China in 2011. In 2014 he received the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) Smart Materials Medal. He was Chair of the High Temperature Materials Division of the Electrochemical Society (2011-2012). He was a Member of the International Relations Committee of the Materials Research Society between 2003 and 2009. Professor Traversa started a two year term in January 2015 as the Chair of the European Section of the Electrochemical Society (ECS). He was listed in the first 50 trading cards issued by the Electrochemical Society, in a list including Volta, Faraday, Ampère, and Edison. Professor Traversa is currently Editor-in-Chief of Materials for Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Chemically Stable Proton Conducting Materials for Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Enrico Traversa

Physical Science and Engineering Division, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal  23955-6900, Saudi Arabia

The high cost of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), associated with their high operating temperatures, hampers their broad use and causes long-term stability problems. A step forward towards reducing the SOFC working temperature at 600°C or below can be the use of high temperature proton conductor (HTPC) oxides as electrolytes, due to their lower activation energy for proton conduction (0.3-0.6 eV), with respect to oxygen-ion conducting electrolytes [1]. We have recently made significant progresses following various strategies [2] in the development of chemically-stable HTPC electrolytes by improving the sinterability of Y-doped barium zirconate (BZY) [3], which offers excellent chemical stability against CO2 and H2O reaction and high bulk conductivity [4], but low conductivity values for sintered pellets due to the presence of blocking grain boundaries. Co-doping BZY with Pr allowed obtaining a chemically stable, sinterable electrolyte that showed a conductivity of 0.01 S/cm at 600°C.

However, efficient cathodes need to be developed to avoid polarization losses at such a low temperature [5]. We followed a rational approach to tailor the cathode materials with low overpotential, considering that the materials should concurrently possess electron, proton and oxygen-ion conductivities, given the different species involved in the cathode reactions, and we succeeded in obtaining an area specific resistance as low as 0.157 Ω cm2 at 600°C [6].

The development of these materials allowed us to start investigation on solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs), where the use of HTPC electrolytes can alleviate the problems encountered with oxygen-ion electrolytes, which are high working temperatures, dilution of the produced H2, and fuel electrode oxidation [7]. We were recently able to report first on the SOEC test using BZY electrolytes [8].

In this presentation, the past work on protonic SOFCs will be briefly summarized, and then the recent work on SOECs will be presented. In addition, preliminary results of the recent efforts in scaling up both planar and microtubular cells and in improving the performance through the tailoring of the nanostructure of cathode materials will be shown.


[1] E. Fabbri, D. Pergolesi, E. Traversa, Chem. Soc. Rev. 29, 4355 (2010)

[2] E. Fabbri, L. Bi, D. Pergolesi, E. Traversa, Adv. Mater. 24, 195 (2012)

[3] E. Fabbri, L. Bi, H. Tanaka, D. Pergolesi, E. Traversa, Adv. Funct. Mater. 21, 158 (2011)

[4] D. Pergolesi, E. Fabbri, A. D’Epifanio, E. Di Bartolomeo, A. Tebano, S. Sanna, S. Licoccia, G. Balestrino, E. Traversa, Nature Mater. 9, 846 (2010)

[5] E. Fabbri, D. Pergolesi, E. Traversa, Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 11, 044301 (2010)

[6] E. Fabbri, L. Bi, D. Pergolesi, E. Traversa, Energy Environ. Sci. 4, 4984 (2011)

[7] L. Bi, S. Boulfrad, E. Traversa, Chem. Soc. Rev. 43, 8255 (2014)

[8] L. Bi, S.P. Shafi, E. Traversa, J. Mater. Chem. A 3, 5815 (2015)