Final Report: Interaction of Sealing Glasses with Metallic Interconnects in Solid Oxide and Polymer Fuel Cells

EPA Grant Number: R830420C006
Subproject: this is subproject number 006 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R830420
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Environmental and Energy Research (CEER)
Center Director: Earl, David A.
Title: Interaction of Sealing Glasses with Metallic Interconnects in Solid Oxide and Polymer Fuel Cells
Investigators: Shelby, James , Hall, Matthew M.
Institution: Alfred University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2006
RFA: Targeted Research Center (2002) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Targeted Research , Congressionally Mandated Center


A completely new phenomenon based on photo-enhanced diffusion of hydrogen in glass has been discovered at Alfred University. Application of this phenomenon to glass microspheres for storage of hydrogen can provide the enabling technology for replacement of traditional methods for storing and transporting hydrogen in high pressure containers or at cryogenic temperatures with lighter, cheaper, safer technology. Use of hydrogen either for combustion or in fuel cells will drastically alter the transportation industry, radically reduce smog, and save hundreds of billions of dollars in cost of imported oil.

The specific objectives of this research project were to:

  1. provide data needed to demonstrate that light enhanced diffusion can be optimized to produce rates sufficient for commercial applications;
  2. and optimize the various experimental parameters to provide a highly efficient combination of material and light source.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):


The saturation/outgassing method, which closely approximates the conditions that will occur in many commercial applications of this technology, was used to determine the rate of release of gasses that have been introduced into the glass samples previously by either heating in the appropriate atmosphere or by exposing the samples to light. The details of these methods can be found in the M.S. thesis by Kenyon (1998). The apparatus used in that study was used in this work.

A 250 watt infrared lamp, which is a broad spectrum lamp with considerable emission in the visible, was used as the light source in this research project. Optical filters were used to define specific irradiation wavelength ranges to determine the most effective wavelengths for inducing this effect.

Preliminary results suggested that no further enhancements in diffusivity are gained by increasing the intensity of the light beyond some level at which the process is fully activated. The effect of lower intensities, which may provide a path for controlling the release rate of hydrogen from the microspheres during application, was studied by using a variable voltage transformer in series with the light source.

Glasses used in the earlier studies were based on commercial sodium borosilicate compositions. Borosilicate glasses differ in morphology at the 50 to 500 nm scale from most other commercial glasses, with a microstructure consisting of two interspersed glasses of very different composition and properties. Because the glasses studied in earlier work have this morphology, it was not known if the enhancement of diffusivity was in some way related to that microstructure or if glasses that are homogeneous at this level would also exhibit the enhanced diffusion effect. It follows that determination of the effect of glass composition on the enhancement effect was needed to increase understanding of the mechanism responsible for this phenomenon. Furthermore, because borosilicate glasses are much more expensive than many other types of glasses, the potential exists for considerable cost reduction of an operational system for hydrogen storage if other cheaper glasses can be used. In particular, soda-lime-silicate glasses were included in this research project to determine if they can replace the more expensive borosilicate glasses. A small series of other glasses having a systematic compositional variation was included to determine the effect of the content of the glassformer on the process. A survey of other, widely different types of glasses, including some non-silicate glasses (borates or phosphates), also has been carried out to ensure that the basic nature of the host glass does not radically alter the acceleration behavior.

Irradiation of the colorless, as-received glass does not yield a significant enhanced diffusion effect. The glasses used in the earlier work were doped with either iron or copper oxides. Although both dopants cause strong enhanced diffusion effects, the use of iron oxide produced a greater effect. A number of other dopants were studied in the present work to determine the interaction between the source spectrum and the absorption spectrum of the glass. In particular, dopants that only absorb in the infrared (e.g. Yb3+), those which absorb strongly at the ultraviolet end of the spectrum (e.g. Ti3+), and those which exhibit broad absorption bands (e.g. Ni2+ and Co2+) in the near infrared (NIR) were studied.


Results of the present study (Rapp, 2004; Rapp and Shelby, 2004) demonstrated that photo-induced outgassing of dissolved hydrogen from glass occurs at much faster rates than thermally induced outgassing from identical samples. It has been proven that addition of absorbing species is necessary for rapid release of hydrogen (Figure 1).

1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 2 publications 1 publications in selected types All 1 journal articles
Other center views: All 34 publications 8 publications in selected types All 6 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Rapp DB, Shelby JE. Photo-induced hydrogen outgassing of glass. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 2004;349:254-259. R830420 (Final)
R830420C001 (Final)
R830420C006 (Final)
  • Abstract: Science Direct Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    sustainable industry/business, technology for sustainable environment, clean technologies, environmental materials, glass technology, energy, environmental engineering, alternative energy source, ceramic materials, clean energy, renewable energy, green building design, hydrogen, diffusion, hollow glass microspheres, photo-enhanced hydrogen diffusion,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, clean energy, energy conservation, NOx reduction, clean technologies, cleaner production, sustainable development, environmental conscious construction, clean manufacturing, energy efficiency, energy technology, emissions control, fuel cell design, environmentally conscious design, polymer fuel cell, reaction kinetics

    Relevant Websites: Exit Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2005

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R830420    Center for Environmental and Energy Research (CEER)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828737C001 Environmental Impact of Fuel Cell Power Generation Systems
    R828737C002 Regional Economic and Material Flows
    R828737C003 Visualizing Growth and Sustainability of Water Resources
    R828737C004 Vibratory Residual Stress Relief and Modifications in Metals to Conserve Resources and Prevent Pollution
    R828737C005 Detecting and Quantifying the Evolution of Hazardous Air Pollutants Produced During High Temperature Manufacturing: A Focus on Batching of Nitrate Containing Glasses
    R828737C006 Sulfate and Nitrate Dynamics in the Canacadea Watershed
    R828737C007 Variations in Subsurface Denitrifying and Sulfate-Reducing Microbial Populations as a Result of Acid Precipitation
    R828737C008 Recycling Glass-Reinforced Thermoset Polymer Composite Materials
    R828737C009 Correlating Clay Mineralogy with Performance: Reducing Manufacturing Waste Through Improved Understanding
    R830420C001 Accelerated Hydrogen Diffusion Through Glass Microspheres: An Enabling Technology for a Hydrogen Economy
    R830420C002 Utilization of Paper Mill Waste in Ceramic Products
    R830420C003 Development of Passive Humidity-Control Materials
    R830420C004 Microarray System for Contaminated Water Analysis
    R830420C005 Material and Environmental Sustainability in Ceramic Processing
    R830420C006 Interaction of Sealing Glasses with Metallic Interconnects in Solid Oxide and Polymer Fuel Cells
    R830420C007 Preparation of Ceramic Glaze Waste for Recycling using Froth Flotation
    R830420C008 Elimination of Lead from Ceramic Glazes by Refractive Index Tailoring
    R830420C010 Nanostructured C6B: A Novel Boron Rich Carbon for H2 Storage