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Volume 1, Issue 1 (October, 2021) –

Cover Picture: Fuel cells could play an important role in the ongoing energy transition by providing clean and efficient energy conversion. Although the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology is a potential alternative for large-scale applications, its commercialization is limited by its electrolyte materials and has not yet been realized. Progress on new functional semiconductor-ionic materials (SIMs) and the fundamentals of SOFCs will provide new paths for their research and development. Herein, we discuss the nanoscale electrochemistry phenomena of SIMs in the context of new concepts for advanced SOFCs. A traditional SOFC consists of a three-layer anode/electrolyte/cathode structure, where the physically separated electrolyte layer is indispensable for ion transport to support the redox reaction and prevent the occurrence of short circuiting. A novel nano-SOFC concept is proposed to replace the traditional electrolyte by a SIM or semiconductor membrane and it can deliver superior performance, even at a lower temperature range (< 500 °C). The scientific basis and prospects of this new technological approach are presented and discussed.
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