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Materials advance promises to help power clean energy economy

St Andrews researchers have made an important step forward in the quest to store electricity from intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar.

Energy conversion technology holds the key to storing energy on large scales – making wind and solar more economical and reliable – and solid oxide cells (SOCs), which operate with high efficiency over a wide range of scales, offer the best prospects.

However, until now scientists have struggled with the technical challenge of developing the electrodes required to deliver high, long-lasting electrocatalytic activity while ensuring cost- and time-efficient manufacture.

Now Professor John Irvine and his team have developed a new method of electrochemical switching, which simplifies the manufacture of the electrodes required to deliver high, long-lasting energy activity.

The results, published in Nature (Monday 22 August 2016), demonstrate a new way to produce highly active and stable nanostructures – by growing electrode nanoarchitectures under operational conditions. This opens exciting new possibilities for activating or reinvigorating fuel cells during operation.

Read the full article here.

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