At the forefront of fuel cells research and development

Fuel Cells

Electrochemical power generation, i.e., using fuel cells – or galvanic electrochemical cells – is one of the research group’s core focuses. Fuel cells spontaneously and directly convert chemical energy of a fuel into electric energy and thermal energy. Our background and expertise is on high temperature fuel cells (i.e., oxygen anion-conducting ceramics, and molten carbonate electrolytes). Our interest in these cells sparks from their high efficiency, fuel flexibility, and thermal integration potentialities with other energy systems.


We work with commercial cells and stacks as well as with in-house manufactured single cells. We design and assemble novel devices by focusing on the sub-component level (electrodes, seals, current collection, manifolds) to obtain an optimized cell or stack with improved performance, with longer lifetime, and lower specific costs.


We are interested in understanding the degradation mechanisms affecting each sub-component in the cell and in finding ways to prevent them. Therefore, we develop testing protocols to characterize the beginning-of-life and end-of-life performance of cells, as well as accelerated stress tests to probe specific degradation hypotheses. Moreover, we develop monitoring techniques for in-situ component health diagnostics.


To corroborate our hypotheses, we perform visual inspections of our cells and stacks, as well as post-mortem characterizations with imagining techniques. We use scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Focused Ion Beam – SEM (FIB-SEM), Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) to look at microstructure and morphological changes in electrodes and cross sections. We use thermo-mechanical tests at high temperature, such as nano-indentation, dynamic mechanical testing (DMA), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to find material properties to feed into our degradation models.


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