Events login

Main Events Calendar

February 19, 2019 | 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Danto Engineering Development Center | Map
5050 Anthony Wayne
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff
The compound CsH2PO4 has emerged as a viable electrolyte for intermediate temperature fuel cells. This material is a member of the general class of compounds known as solid acids or acid salts, in which polyanion groups are linked together via hydrogen bonds and monoatomic cations provide overall charge balance. Within this class, several solid acids display a superprotonic transition, at which the compound transforms to a structurally disordered phase of high conductivity. At the transition the conductivity jumps by 3-5 orders of magnitude and the activation energy for proton transport drops to a value of ~ 0.35 eV. The rapid proton transport in the superprotonic phase results from the high degree of polyanion rotational disorder. In the case of CsH2PO4 the transition occurs at 228 °C and the conductivity rises to ~ 10-2 S/cm at 240 °C, enabling fuel cell operation at temperatures between 230 and 260 °C. The physical characteristics of CsH2PO4 imply a number of realized and potential advantages for fuel cell operation relative to polymer, solid oxide, and liquid electrolyte alternatives, and have begun to push the technology out of the laboratory into commercial development. We present here an overview of the proton transport characteristics of solid acids and the current status of solid acid fuel cell technology.
About our guest
Sossina M. Haile received her B.S and Ph.D (1992) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley. She carried out postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institut für Festkörperforschung [Institute for Solid State Research], Stuttgart, Germany (1992-1993) as a Humboldt Fellow. Haile joined Northwestern University in 2015, after having served 18 years on the faculty at the California Institute of Technology.

Haile's research broadly encompasses solid state ionic materials and devices, with particular focus on energy technologies. She has established a new class of fuel cells based on solid acid electrolytes and demonstrated record power densities for solid oxide fuel cells. Her more recent work on water and carbon dioxide dissociation for solar-fuel generation by thermochemical processes has created new avenues for harnessing sunlight to meet energy demands.

She is the recipient of several awards, including in 2008 an American Competitiveness and Innovation (ACI) Fellowship from the National Science Foundation in recognition of “her timely and transformative research in the energy field and her dedication to inclusive mentoring, education and outreach across many levels,” the 2010 Chemical Pioneers Award of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the 2012 International Ceramics Prize for the World Academy of Ceramics. In 2016 she was inducted into the African Academy of Sciences.

About the BASF Distinguished Lecture Series
The Wayne State University Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science is welcoming five prominent scientists and engineers to its campus to stimulate idea-focused conversations about emerging growth areas such as alternative energy, biomaterials, nanotechnology, polymer engineering and sustainability. This partnership between Wayne State and BASF — the largest chemical producer in the world, with a footprint in more than 80 countries — is intended to create another pathway to connect students with professional leaders and to enhance interaction among industry experts.
For more information about this event, please contact Guangzhao Mao at 313-577-3804 or