Scientists from the University of South Carolina and Clemson University have made a discovery that could dramatically improve the efficiency of batteries and fuel cells.
The research, which is published in the journal Nature Communications, involves improving the transport of oxygen ions, a key component in converting chemical energy into electricity. The team studied a well-known material, gadolinium doped ceria (GDC), which transports oxygen ions and is currently in use as a solid oxide fuel cell electrolyte. Through the use of additives and a “smart” chemical reaction, they demonstrated a greatly enhanced conductivity in GDC. The result is a faster and more efficient conversion into electricity.
“This breakthrough will pave the path to fabricate next generation energy conversion and storage devices with significantly enhanced performance, increasing energy efficiency and making energy environmentally benign and sustainable,” said Fanglin “Frank” Chen, a mechanical engineering professor in Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing.