The Electroceramics group at Imperial College London focuses on research and development for electrochemical devices to meet our future energy needs
The Electroceramics group is based within the Department of Materials at Imperial College London, and its’ members are also associates of the Energy Futures Lab and the Institute of Molecular Science and Engineering. We are involved with pioneering research and development of electrochemical devices that are essential to meet the policy commitments of both the UK government and the EU to achieve a net zero carbon economy by 2050.
Our work is focused on energy conversion and storage with two major themes: solid oxide cells and solid state batteries. In the area of solid oxide cells we investigate the fundamental processes occurring at surfaces and interfaces that underpin degradation of performance and allow new strategies to be developed to improve durability. With the aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2050 it is also essential that we consider new routes to low carbon fuels, and with solid oxide cells we can operate these in power generation mode (fuel cell) or fuel production mode (electrolysis).
In the latter mode the devices will produce hydrogen from steam, creating clean, or ‘green’, hydrogen. Solid oxide cells can also operate as either proton conducting or oxide ion conducting technologies, with the key difference being in the nature of the electrolyte (ion conducting membrane). We use a range of techniques to probe the key processes within the materials labelling the mobile species (oxygen or hydrogen) and determining the rate of their movement within the solid.
Development of new electrodes and electrode structures is a further area of interest and involves consideration of the microstructure of the electrode, and the potential for developing nanostructured electrodes using thin film deposition techniques.
Electrochemical research collaboration
The group collaborates widely with colleagues in the UK, Europe, Japan, China and North America. In addition we have a leading role in training the next generation of doctoral researchers through our leadership of the EPSRC-SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials (ww.cdt-acm.org) in which Energy Materials is a core theme.