Korea University Joint Research Team Develops Improved Ceramic Fuel Cell
Korea University Joint Research Team Develops Improved Ceramic Fuel Cell
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, August 28, 2018
  • KIST-Korea University joint research team develops world's best high performance medium-low temperature ceramic fuel cell
  • Successful thinning of middle-low-temperature fuel cell electrolyte, reduction of resistance, breakthrough performance improvement
  • Establishing a basis for innovative performance improvement of fuel cell research and presenting new paradigm


Conventional fuel cells have been classified into low-temperature type (below 200 ° C) and high-temperature type (above 600 ° C) depending on operating temperature. While low-temperature fuel cells require expensive platinum catalysts, high-temperature fuel cells can be made of inexpensive ceramic materials, but degradation due to deterioration is a problem due to high operating temperatures. 

In the fuel cell operation, the mid to low temperature range of 300 to 600 ° C is known to be advantageous in terms of manufacturing cost, efficiency, and reliability. However, the conventional fuel cells have low ion conductivity at the corresponding temperature range, making it difficult to fabricate high performance fuel cells. Recently, Korean researchers have dramatically improved the performance of the middle-low-temperature ceramic fuel cell, It is attracting attention.   

The research team of Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST, Lee Byeong-kwon) High Temperature Energy Materials Research Center Dr. Ji-Won Sohn collaborated with professor Shim, ), And succeeded in dramatically improving the performance of the middle-low-temperature fuel cell by developing a manufacturing method capable of effectively and stably bringing down the electrolyte thinning. 

KIST-Korea University researchers have introduced protonic ceramic fuel cells (PCFCs) to overcome the limitations of conventional low-temperature fuel cells. The proton ceramic fuel cell (PCFC) is a fuel cell composed of a ceramic membrane that conducts hydrogen ions, the lightest ions instead of oxygen. 

Proton ceramics have attracted attention as the next generation fuel cell materials because they show 100 times higher conductivity than conventional ceramic electrolytes in the middle and low temperature range. However, they are difficult to fabricate as thin films and have a disadvantage that they have poor bonding ability with other ceramic materials. In addition, the actual performance reported in the literature was significantly lower than that of conventional fuel cells, and skeptical evaluation was dominant in terms of practical applicability. 

KIST-Korea University jointly developed a multi-scale proton ceramic fuel cell (PCFC) structure capable of stably producing electrolytic thin films, which is more than twice as high as conventional proton ceramic fuel cells. The thin film electrolyte developed in this study was able to maximize the performance by drastically reducing the grain boundary resistance which was the biggest problem of the proton ceramics.

In the case of a ceramic fuel cell, in which the electrolyte resistance is relatively high, the increase in the thickness of the electrolyte may lead to a deterioration in the overall performance of the fuel cell. The anode-supported thin film PCFC developed by the present inventors has a multi- And the ability to grow the electrolyte on small particles at the nanometer level has the advantage of reducing the electrolyte thickness to 1 μm (micrometer, 1 / 100,000). The researchers have shown that the electrolyte thinner than the hair dramatically reduces the overall resistance of the fuel cell, resulting in a power output that is more than twice as high as conventional PCFCs based on homologous materials.  

Dr. Sohn Ji-won (center director), who led the study, said, "The development of low-temperature fuel cells is an essential element for fuel cells to be successfully deployed throughout the energy and system fields in the future. It will be a very important turning point in presenting a new paradigm in battery research. "

This research was carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology (Ministry of Information and Communication), Global Frontier Multi-Scale Energy System Research Project, and the Korea Energy Technology Evaluation and Research Institute under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Energy Materials' (IF: 21.875, higher in JCR: 1.712%).