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Title Prof. An Jihwan Develops High-Performance Low-Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
Writer admin ReadCount 547 Date 2018-04-02

“Mobile phones and drones may be charged by a fuel cell, a next-generation energy system that does not pollute.

- Significant research accomplishment for electric energy generation from various fuels, including hydrogen, natural gas, and alcohol

- Maximum performance of a conventional low-temperature solid oxide fuel cell improved by over 50%

While fine dust causes problems every day throughout Korea, studies are being actively conducted to identify a next-generation energy system that does not pollute.

Professor An Jihwan's group (from the left: Professor An Jihwan; Oh Seong-guk [first author, master’s candidate]; Shin Jeong-wu [co-author, master’s candidate]; and Yang Byeong-chan [co-author, master’s candidate]) from the Manufacturing Systems and Design Engineering (MSDE) Program of the Department of Global Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Department of Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering of the Graduate School of Seoul National University of Science and Technology (SeoulTech) have successfully developed a high-performance low-temperature solid oxide fuel cell with an inorganic thin-film electrolyte.

Solid oxide fuel cells have been drawing attention as potential next-generation fuel cells, as they allow for the conversion of not only hydrogen but also various other fuels—including natural gas and alcohol—into electric energy at a high level of efficiency. In particular, low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells, which can operate at a temperature under 500℃, have a high applicability to practical areas of life, such as being used as power sources for mobile phones. In comparison, conventional high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells operate at a temperature over 800℃. However, their lower performance at a low temperature has limited the commercialization of low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells.


▲ Schematic diagram of a sandwich-shaped ultra-thin electrolyte structure prepared by applying an advanced semiconductor process (atomic layer deposition) and high-performance low-temperature solid oxide fuel cell to the structure


Professor An's group identified an optimal design and manufactured a sandwich-shaped electrolyte film for the fuel cell by applying an atomic layer deposition process onto a porous nano-structure substrate. Atomic layer deposition—a technology for the precise deposition of thin atomic layers—was used to develop a high-performance thin-film fuel cell with a maximum performance of over 50%, higher than that of conventional low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells. Since this process can be used for commercial production more easily than the conventional process, the commercialization of solid oxide fuel cells may be accelerated.

Due to the high energy density of the fuel cells developed in the present study (up to dozens of times higher than that of conventional batteries, allowing users to be freed from the concerns of a dead battery), the fuel cells may be used to charg mobile phones and laptop computers. In addition, the fuel cells developed in the preset study may be used to power drones, allowing them to fly continuously for over 4 hours.

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