Looking at Chemistry in Hard to See Places: Understanding Energy Conversion at 1400° Celsius

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Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are promising devices for stationary and portable power and heat generation, because they can use complex fuels such as hydro-carbons, CO, and alcohols. Extreme, non-equilibrium conditions and high tem-peratures (≥ 700 ˚C) required for SOFC operation hamper efforts to understand the mechanisms of component degradation in SOFCs. This talk focuses on new insights into SOFC chemistry and the conversion of carbon-containing fuels (both hydrocarbons and oxygenated) into electricity, carbon dioxide and water, gleaned from a combination of techniques including electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, voltammetry, and vibrational Raman scattering.

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Dr. Rob Walker is Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at MSU and the Program Director for Montana’s collaborative Materials Science Ph.D. Program. His research focuses on: 1) structure, organization and reactivity at liquid interfaces and 2) high-temperature surface chemistry on electrocatalytic and metal oxide surfaces. His awards include NSF CAREER, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and Fellowship in the AAAS. With a B.A. from Dartmouth and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison—both in chemistry—Rob spent 11 years on the faculty at the University of Maryland before moving to Bozeman in 2009.