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FOXCET – Functional oxides for clean energy technologies: fuel cells, gas separation membranes and electrolysers

The overall objective is to develop fundamental understanding of defined issues underpinning lifetime and performance of fuel cells, electrolysers and gas separation membranes.

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The nationally coordinated project FOXCET addresses recent advances in proton and oxygen ion conducting materials for applications in the energy sector, notably high temperature fuel cells, steam electrolysis, and gas separation membranes. These electrochemical devices are of importance for more environment-friendly hydrogen- and fossil-fuelled transport and stationary power, for intermediate storage of peak renewable energy production, for carbon capture and storage, as well as a variety of fuel upgrading processes.

The project takes as starting point the last decades developments of fuel cell and membrane materials in RCN and EU projects by the partners and by startup companies around these, and moves into the next stage of scientific and technological understanding that may lead to enhanced performance and lifetime. These are based on the application of recent theory of charged core regions and space charge layers of interfaces like grain boundaries, and extending it to surfaces and electrodes, while at the same time taking into use the wide range of atomic resolution microscopy and advanced spectroscopy that have become available at large facilities and national research infrastructures. Moreover, the project takes advantage of supercomputer facilities and partner proven expertise to model the same interfaces at an unprecedented level. Cation diffusivity in bulk and grain boundary as well as thermomechanical degradation will be measured and used to predict and improve lifetime with support from measurement of mechanical properties. Finally, these activities are matched with a range of nanostructuring fabrication methods for model materials and improved components such as fuel cells cathodes.

Secondary objectives are to:

  • establish a total picture of material interfaces and surfaces that comprise their composition, structure, as well as charge and resulting space charge layers
  • obtain ground breaking insights in enhanced transport, enhanced resistance, surface and electrode kinetics, and cation diffusion
  • determine the lifetime of devices and establish a pioneering comprehensive model for predicting life time
  • extend space charge theory of interfaces to heterophase boundaries and surfaces
  • establish novel nano-engineering of surfaces and interfaces
  • increase knowledge about HES and ELSA for the technology
  • educate 4 PhD candidates and 2 post docs
  • publish 15 publications in high ranking journals
  • strengthen cooperation with industry and organise 6 Workshops with international attendance international attendance

The project educates and trains 6 PhD and postdoc candidates. It encompasses partners SINTEF, NTNU, and UiO and lasts 4 years.

More information about the project at the The Research Counsil of Norway website


Sazinas, Rokas; Bernuy-Lopez, Carlos; Einarsrud, Mari-Ann; Grande, Tor
"Effect of CO2 Exposure on the Chemical Stability and Mechanical Properties of BaZrO3‐Ceramics", Journal of The American Ceramic Society 2016; Volume 99 (11) p. 3685-3695
DOI: 10.1111/jace.14395 - CRIStin 

Bernuy-Lopez, Carlos; Høydalsvik, Kristin; Einarsrud, Mari-Ann; Grande, Tor,
Effect of A-Site Cation Ordering on Chemical Stability, Oxygen Stoichiometry and Electrical Conductivity in Layered LaBaCo2O5+d Double Perovskite. Materials 2016 ;Volume 9.(3) p. 154-
DOI: 10.3390/ma9030154 - CRIStin

Polfus, Jonathan M.; Fontaine, Marie-Laure; Thøgersen, Annett; Riktor, Marit; Norby, Truls and Bredesen Rune,
Solubility of transition metal interstitials in proton conducting BaZrO3 and similar perovskite oxides, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016,4, 8105-8112,
DOI: 10.1039/C6TA02377K - CRIStin

Polfus, Jonathan M.; Bjørheim, Tor S.; Norby, Truls and Bredesen, Rune,
Surface defect chemistry of Y-substituted and hydrated BaZrO3 with subsurface space-charge regions. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, 4, 7437–7444,
DOI: 10.1039/c6ta02067d - CRIStin

Polfus, Jonathan M.; Norby, Truls and Bredesen, Rune,
Proton segregation and space-charge at the BaZrO3 (0 0 1)/MgO (0 0 1) heterointerface. Solid State Ionics 297 (2016) 77-81,
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssi.2016.10.010 - CRIStin

Key Factors

Project duration

01/09/2013 - 31/08/2017