Characterisation of proton conducting oxide materials for use in reverse water gas shift catalysis and solid oxide fuel cells
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This study concerned the preparation, characterisation and evaluation of different proton conductors for the Reverse Water Gas Shift Reaction (RWGS) and their evaluation as electrolytes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) under H₂ and O₂. Materials with both catalytic and conductive properties are of a great interest, as their use in electrocatalytical systems may be very important. Sr₃CaZr₀.₅Ta₁.₅O₈.₇₅ (SCZT), BaCe₀.₉Y₀.₁O₂.₉₅ (BCY10) and Ba₃Ca₁.₁₈Nb₁.₈₂O₈.₇₃ (BCN18), were the initial materials in this study. Thermogravimetric analysis under different atmospheres (5%H₂/Ar, Ar, 5%CO₂, etc), were performed on SCZT and BCN18; with both materials being shown to be stable under reducing and oxidising conditions. Conductivity measurements by two terminal a.c. impedance were also conducted on SCZT and BCN18 under oxidising and reducing atmospheres. As found in literature, BCN18 showed mixed conductivity; with electronic conductivity at high temperatures and pure ionic conductivity below 550ºC, This behaviour was shown in chapter 3, where the change on conduction process was observed upon different gas feeds. Its maximum conductivity values for the different atmospheres were: 8.50x10⁻⁵ S/cm (Dry 5%H₂/Ar at 200ºC), 4.24x10⁻⁴ S/cm (Wet 5%H₂/Ar at 500ºC) and 4.48x10⁻³ S/cm (Air at 900ºC). SCZT proton conducting behaviour was also measured (wet and dry 5%H₂/Ar). Exhibiting an order of magnitude higher in total conductivity upon hydration of the gas feed (σdry=1.01x10⁻⁶ and σwet=1.07x10⁻⁵ at 450ºC). The doping of barium cerate with Zr and Zn by Tao and Irvine, lead to a more stable and easily sinterable BaCe₀.₅Zr₀.₃Y₀.₁₆Zn₀.₀₄O₃ (BCZYZ). Following this work, the introduction of ZnO as a sintering aid to SCZT and BCN18 resulted in Sr₃CaZr₀.₄Ta₁.₅Zn₀.₁O₈.₇₅ (SCZTZ), and Ba₃(Ca₁.₁₈Nb₁.₇₀Zn₀.₁₂)O₈.₅₅ (BCNZ); with higher final densities (above 90% dense). As with BCN18, BCNZ also exhibited mixed conductivity; with higher total conductivity values than BCN18. A maximum of total conductivity of 1.85x10⁻³ S/cm at 900ºC for BCNZ was measured against 6.99x10⁻⁴ S/cm at 900ºC for BCN18. A change in conductivity process was observed when using air or wet 5%H₂/Ar, achieving a maximum of 3.85x10⁻⁴ S/cm at 400ºC when under wet hydrogen. All materials (as powders) have shown catalytic activity for the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction, with the lowest conversion temperature onset at 400ºC for SCZT and a maximum conversion of CO₂ to CO of 42%, with circa 0.52 and 0.59 mmol/s.m² of CO produced at 900ºC by BCN18 and BCZYZ, respectively. No relation between mechanisms for the RWGS and σ for these materials were expected below 10% conversion, as no correlation was found between their activation energies. BCY10 as shown a partial decomposition when exposed to the RWGS reaction, for what BCZYZ After fuel cell testing under H₂ and O₂ both SCZTZ and BCNZ showed mixed conductivity. SCZTZ under different hydrogen partial pressures, exhibited a behaviour close to a pure proton conductor, however, when exposed to both reducing and oxidising conditions, its behaviour did not follow the theoretical values. On the other hand, BCNZ behaves as a pure ionic conductor below 500ºC; with increasing influence of the electronic conductivity on temperature increase. However, as seen for BCNZ conductivity data from 2 terminal a.c. impedance, below 650ºC wet 5%H₂ exhibited the highest conductivity values. This, in additions to the pure ionic conductive behaviour below 400ºC (from the effective ionic transport number), suggests that BCNZ becomes closer to a pure proton conductor with temperature decrease.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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