Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory masthead A-Z Index Berkeley Lab masthead U.S. Department of Energy logo Phone Book Jobs Search
Tech Transfer
Licensing Interest Form Receive Customized Tech Alerts
Low Cost, Simplified Manufacturing of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells


Simplified Cu-Cermet Anode Production for High Temperature Electrochemical Devices
, IB-2361
Improved Segment-in-Series High Temperature Electrochemical Device, IB-2401
Robust Seal for High Temperature Electrochemical Devices, IB-2339
Low-Cost Layered Structure for High Temperature Electrochemical Devices, IB-2244 and IB-2526
Easy Joining of Dissimilar Materials in Concentric Tubes, IB-2169


Simplified Cu-Cermet Anode Production for High Temperature Electrochemical Devices

IB-2361

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs)
  • Hydrogen generators

ADVANTAGES:

  • Simplified, inexpensive process
  • More tolerant to carbon and sulfur than Ni catalysts
  • Applicable to planar and tubular geometries
 

ABSTRACT:

Craig Jacobson and Michael Tucker of Berkeley Lab have developed an inexpensive method for producing a highly conductive Cu-electrolyte cermet.  Current methods typically require an expensive and more complex infiltration process.

Copper has shown promising performance as an alternative catalyst to nickel for electrochemical device anodes, especially in the presence of sulfur and carbon – pollutants often present in fuels of interest for SOFCs.  Another advantage of using copper instead of nickel in an anode structure is that Cu/Cu-oxide transition occurs at higher oxygen partial pressure than Ni/Ni-oxide transition, therefore the redox tolerance of the anode is expected to be improved.

The Berkeley Lab method can be used with devices having tubular or planar geometries.

STATUS:

  • Available for licensing.
  • Published patent application WO 2009/099447 available at www.wipo.int.


Improved Segment-in-Series High Temperature Electrochemical Device

IB-2401

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Oxygen generators
  • Electrolyzers

ADVANTAGES:

  • Greatly expands the choice of sealing materials
  • Promises inexpensive manufacturing, high sealing quality, and long lifetime
  • Applicable to devices of any geometry, including planar and tubular
  • Allows alternative electrical and mechanical connection strategies between neighboring devices, manifolds, etc.


ABSTRACT:

Sealing of high temperature electrochemical devices is a major technical barrier to their commercialization. No dominant sealing technology exists; all have drawbacks that have precluded their widespread acceptance.

Berkeley Lab researchers Craig Jacobson and Michael Tucker have invented a seal that overcomes many of the disadvantages of existing seals and sealing methods. The new seal allows manufacturers to choose from a broader array of sealing materials and has other features that may significantly reduce manufacturing costs, improve seal quality, and lead to longer lifetimes. The new seal can be used with almost any conceivable device design and should allow for alternative electrical and mechanical connection strategies between neighboring devices, manifolds, and electrical conduits.

 

STATUS:

  • Available for licensing.




Robust Seal for High Temperature Electrochemical Devices

IB-2339

 

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

 

  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Oxygen generators
  • Gas filtration
  • Processes using ceramic membranes

ADVANTAGES:

 

  • Greatly expands the choice of sealing materials
  • Promises inexpensive manufacturing, high sealing quality, and long lifetime
  • Applicable to devices of any geometry, including planar and tubular
  • Allows alternative electrical and mechanical connection strategies between neighboring devices, manifolds, etc.

 

ABSTRACT:

Sealing of high temperature electrochemical devices is a major technical barrier to their commercialization. No dominant sealing technology exists; all have drawbacks that have precluded their widespread acceptance.

Berkeley Lab researchers Craig Jacobson and Michael Tucker have invented a seal that overcomes many of the disadvantages of existing seals and sealing methods. The new seal allows manufacturers to choose from a broader array of sealing materials and has other features that may significantly reduce manufacturing costs, improve seal quality, and lead to longer lifetimes. The new seal can be used with almost any conceivable device design and should allow for alternative electrical and mechanical connection strategies between neighboring devices, manifolds, and electrical conduits.

 

STATUS:

  • Available for licensing.


Low-Cost Layered Structure for High Temperature Electrochemical Devices

IB-2244 and IB-2526 (SECA-funded)

 

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Oxygen generators
  • Electrochemical reactors

ADVANTAGES:

  • Offers less expensive manufacturing
  • Displays excellent mechanical bonding between layers and a robust structure
  • Expands the choice of electrode catalysts
  • Applies to planar or tubular cells geometries
 

ABSTRACT:

Berkeley Lab researchers Mike Tucker, Grace Lau, and Craig Jacobson have invented a novel layered structure for preparing a high-operating temperature electrochemical cell.  The structural support is porous metal, an unconventional approach which imparts strength, while use of the more expensive ceramic and cermet materials is confined to the thin active layers.  Due to several unique processing techniques, a wider range of catalysts can be introduced into the structure than current methods allow.  The Berkeley Lab process renders a robust, well-bonded electrochemical device that could be manufactured at significantly reduced cost.

 

STATUS:

  • Published PCT Patent Application WO2009/014775 available at www.wipo.int. Alternative method covered in additional patent application. Available for licensing.



Easy Joining of Dissimilar Materials in Concentric Tubes

IB-2169

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Electrochemical devices, e.g. solid oxide fuel cells
  • Filter elements
  • Gas sparger/bubbler/fluid manifold
  • Wear coatings
  • Thermal barrier layers
  • Chemical resistance coatings
  • Current collection

ADVANTAGES:

  • More robust than current methods
  • Promises easier manufacturing
  • Allows inspection of the outside of an internal layer

ABSTRACT:

Steven Visco, Mike Tucker and colleagues have invented an efficient method for joining concentric tubes of dissimilar materials to form a robust, composite tubular structure. The method was developed in the context of tubular solid oxide fuel cells but could be applied to filter elements, gas manifolds, or any other device with concentric tubes where the pore size, total porosity, chemical, mechanical, or electronic properties must vary in the radial direction.

Unlike current processes, the Berkeley Lab method makes it unnecessary for the tubes to display adhesive, chemical, or sintering bonding to each other. The inventors exploit radial shrinkage during sintering to join tubular layers to one another primarily by compressive and friction forces, and possibly some mechanical interlocking, thus “shrink-wrapping” an outer tube onto an inner tube. The new method is not only simple, but promises to produce more robust joining.  It also enables inspection of the outside of an internal concentric layer before an external layer is applied. This is not possible in a manufacturing scheme where all of the layers are produced as a single green body and subsequently co-sintered.

STATUS:

  • Published PCT Patent Application WO2008/016345 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research. 


SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:

 

See More Energy Technologies
Last updated: 05/11/2012