Tailoring cations in a perovskite cathode for proton-conducting solid oxide fuel cells with high performance†
A rational design of a high-performance cathode for proton-conducting solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) is proposed in this study with the aim of improving the hydration properties of conventional perovskite cathode materials, thus leading to the development of new materials with enhanced proton migration. Herein, potassium is used to dope traditional Ba0.5Sr0.5Co0.8Fe0.2O3−δ (BSCF), which is demonstrated to be a beneficial way for improving hydration, both experimentally and theoretically. The theoretical study was needed to overcome practical limits that hindered direct hydrogen mobility measurements. The novel material Ba0.4K0.1Sr0.5Co0.8Fe0.2O3−δ (BKSCF) shows a lower overall proton migration energy compared with that of the sample without K, suggesting that K-doping enhances proton conduction, which shows an improved performance by extending the catalytic sites to the whole cathode area. As a result, a fuel cell built with the novel BKSCF cathode shows an encouraging fuel cell performance of 441 and 1275 mW cm−2 at 600 and 700 °C, respectively, which is significantly higher than that of the cell using the pristine BSCF cathode. This study provides a new and rational way to design a perovskite cathode for proton-conducting SOFCs with high performance.