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Inorganic Functional Materials
(For Catalysts and Electrochemistry for Energy Applications and More)


Fig.1 Crystal structure of LaGaO3.


Fig.2. Water splitting with
type photocatalyst.

The need for new energy generation and storage devices has never been stronger. In this laboratory, inorganic functional materials that can be used for energy and the environment are studied, focusing on materials for use in solid oxide fuel cells, advanced type Li rechargeable batteries (dual carbon, Li-air, and hybrid capacitor), photocatalysts for hydrogen generation, steam reforming catalysts, and automotive exhaust catalysts.

1) Highly Reliable Solid Oxide Fuel Cell:
To improve the reliability of solid oxide fuel cells, our group has developed the LaGaO3 based electrolyte, a fast and promising oxide ion conductor (Fig.1). It is applied to thin film (a few mm) and also used for metal support as an anode for SOFC with non-fragile cells. In addition, the application of a CeO2 based oxide is used as an anode for SOFCs for direct hydrocarbon fuel cell usage.

2) Advanced Li Rechargeable Battery:
Improved storage capacity is a major need for Li ion batteries for electric or hybrid vehicles. This new and advanced Li battery uses PF6- intercalation, and is being studied as a new alternative. The battery displays high discharge potential, much like 5 V and similar capacity current Li ion batteries.

3) Diesel Exhaust Catalyst:
Diesel engines demonstrate superior energy conversion efficiency, but emit air pollutants such as NOx and particulate matter. Removal of these air pollutants is a critical part of the solution to various environmental issues. In the Ishihara Laboratory, a new NOx decomposition catalyst and low temperature particulate matter combustion catalyst are being studied. Complete decomposition of NO into N2 and O2 is achieved via a Ba-Y-O oxide doped with Sc at 850°C. At the same time, the oxidation of particulate matter starts with the CeO/Ce-Bi-O oxide.

4) Oxygen Permeation Membrane:
We found that Pr2NiO4 doped with Cu and Ga displays a high oxygen permeating rate of 7 cc/min cm2 from air to He at 1000°C, in spite of a membrane thickness 0.5mm.

5) Photocatalyst for Hydrogen Generation:
Recently, we developed a new photocatalyst system for complete water decomposition base on Z type excitation, mimicking the way that plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out O2 using photosynthesis (Fig.2).

Lab. of Inorganic Functional Materials,
Department of Materials Physics and Chemistry,
Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University
Professor Tatsumi Ishihara
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