Laboratory for Energy Cycle Research

Fabrication and reliability evaluation of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs)

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) represent a next-generation hydrogen energy technology. To date, SOFCs of various types and designs have been developed worldwide. It is a crucially important and urgent task to ensure the relibility and durability of the SOFCs for the realization of their practical applications. Our research is focussed on the effects of interactions between material, mechanical, electrical, and chemical factors (MECh interactions) on the performance and durability of SOFCs. We have been developing a constituent element testing method for determining the fundamental mechanical properties and a cell testing method for evaluating the critical operating conditions as a durability limit of SOFCs, and the experimental approach is coupled with numerical simulations using finite element method (FEM) and molecular dynamics (MD). The integrated approach is being utilized to elucidate the MECh interactions and to establish a methodology for designing high-performance, high-reliability SOFCs. In addition, we are developing coating technologies for preparing thin electrolytes in order to reduce the operating temeprature of SOFCs.


Synthesis of carbon nanotube nano-composites for new energy materials

Our research team has been developing a new class of materials, taking advantage of the unique and useful characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), with the ultimate objective of creating and producing novel energy materials for next-generation energy cycle systems. Specifically, our research is focused on the development of CNTs reinforced ceramic matrix composites. A precursor method, rather than the conventional mixing method, is being developed as the synthesis method for CNT nano-composites in order to control the spatial dispersion of the nano-scale reinforcement and the interface. We are performing a systematic experiment for evaluating the mechanical properties such as strength and toughness, and friction and wear, and the electro-magnetic properties including electrical conductivity and interaction with magnetic waves.