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From fundamental to applied science: new frontiers in fuel cell technologies

Abstract

Safeguarding Brazilian society's increasing demand for energy and meeting the target for CO2 emissions reduction mandates investments in renewable energy sources and low carbon technologies. Toward tackling such a challenge, the United Kingdom has a mature and extensive research infrastructure via the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Hub. Fuel cells are increasingly important electrochemical devices capable of directly converting chemical to electrical energy with high efficiency. Among fuel cells, solid oxide and polymer electrolyte fuel cells are arguably the most mature technologies and with the most potential for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, research opportunities and technology improvements are still widely seen as necessary for widespread fuel cell use, in particular when dealing with biofuels and intermediate temperature devices. Thus, the primary objective of this São Paulo Chair of Excellency is the creation of a Brazilian nucleus on fuel cell research focused on a multi-scale computational approach tightly coupled to advanced experimental techniques. Outcomes of this project have the potential to position Brazil as a centre of excellence in fuel cell research and deployment, enabling future electrochemical systems (e.g. synthesis of renewable chemicals), tailored to local needs and opportunities, via a multidisciplinary research framework with a solid connection with world-class research leaders. (AU)

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