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Advanced Materials and Process Research for Fuel Cells, to Realize a Sustainable Society Using Hydrogen Fuels

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Fuel Cell (SOFC) Evaluation Systems


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Scanning Transmission
Electron Microscope


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Visualization System for High
Temperature Fuel Cell (SOFC)


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Carbon-free Electrocatalyst for PEFC


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Development of Metal-Supported SOFC


Fuel cells are promising to bring us environmentally-sustainable technology within the century. For the technological development and commercialization of this technology, however, various scientific and engineering aspects need to be clarified or established. At the Hydrogen Utilization Processes Laboratory, we hope to contribute to this promising technological field by using our more than 20 years of research experience in fuel cell technologies.

To date, we have built the most advanced facilities in Japan, and our facilities enable us to conduct a wide range of fuel cell research and development, from materials to systems. Fuel cell fabrication equipment and facilities for electrical, thermal, and electrochemical analysis (including ca. 40 fuel-cell evaluation systems and characterization instruments), featuring the highest-resolution FESEM-EDX and STEM-FIB systems are available exclusively to our group members. At this time, we are addressing the development of novel electrode materials, the establishment of system design criteria, and the elucidation of mechanisms, processes and breakthroughs in related technological areas.

Research on electrode materials and reaction processes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)
One of the most appealing benefits of the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) over other types of fuel cells is its fuel flexibility: the ability to produce electricity from a variety of fuels, including natural gas, renewable biomass, or even gasoline with fewer pollution-causing emissions. Nevertheless, it is likely that various kinds of minor fuel impurities could cause fatal degradation of cell performance or affect overall SOFC system durability. Since 2008, we have been involved in a national project supported by NEDO to construct the world's first database regarding the long-term impurity tolerance of SOFCs.

Application of bio-fuels to SOFC
Biogas, generated by anaerobic fermentation of organic waste, consists of 60% CH4 and 40% CO2. In principle, since biogas contains a natural reforming agent, CO2, it can be fed directly into a high temperature SOFC without a pre-reformer to obtain electricity. In this way, hydrogen production and purification systems can be simplified, leading to cost reduction and enhancement of overall system efficiency. Our group has demonstrated the long-term stability of internally reforming SOFCs running on biogas using anode-supported single cells. Currently, the thermomechanical reliability of internal reforming SOFCs is being evaluated using an SOFC visualization system that enables us to perform in-situ measurements of temperature distribution in the cells.

Development of metal-supported SOFC
We are also involved in the research and development of metal-supported SOFCs using heat-resistant stainless steel as a substrate, aiming to create a highly robust SOFC that can withstand thermal shock, fuel shortages, and more.

Research on electrocatalysts and reaction processes for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEFCs)
We are focusing on the development of novel electrocatalysts and the formulation of electrode design for polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), a promising energy conversion system in hydrogen-related technologies. Recently, we have made considerable progress in the development of a carbon-free electrocatalyst that fundamentally eliminates the problem of carbon corrosion.

Fundamentals of hydrogen related engineering
We hope to establish the scientific principles of fuel cells and related hydrogen technologies. Our activities include defect chemistry on ionic, electronic, and molecular levels; solid-state electrochemistry; thermodynamics and transport phenomena; electrode processes; acceleration testing; and experimental techniques for electrochemical characterization, microscopy, and simulation.

Hydrogen Utilization Processes Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University
Professor Kazunari Sasaki
Associate Professor Yusuke Shiratori
Research Associate Professor Shunsuke Taniguchi
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