Owing to their high theoretical efficiency, two-step solar thermochemical water and CO2 splitting cycles, using a metal oxide intermediate, provide a promising pathway to store solar energy in a stable chemical bond. To date, the most successful demonstrations have utilized nonstoichiometric oxides, a class of materials capable of continuously transitioning from an oxidized to reduced state via formation of oxygen vacancies. The success of nonstoichiometric oxides is typically attributed to their ability to maintain their crystallographic phase, allowing them to be cycled many times without destabilizing–a tremendous practical advantage. In this work, we utilize a combined empirical and statistical thermodynamics approach to present an alternative explanation of the success of nonstoichiometric oxides from an entropy perspective. We first illuminate the importance of the entropy change of the reduction reaction as a key material parameter. We then develop a methodology for plotting nonstoichiometric oxides on the Ellingham diagram, enabling a direct comparison to stoichiometric materials. This analysis reveals the unique ability of nonstoichiometric oxides to achieve a significant solid-state entropy contribution, which results from the disorder generated via oxygen vacancy formation. To quantify the solid-state entropy, we develop a simple configurational entropy model applicable to any oxygen-deficient nonstoichiometric oxide. We compare model predictions to existing data for two important nonstoichiometric oxides, CeO2−δ and La0.6Ca0.4Mn0.6Al0.4O3−δ, to reveal the main trends in entropy vs δ and material composition and discuss the causes and implications of deviations from the theory.
The role of entropy in the success of nonstoichiometric oxides for two-step thermochemical water and CO2 splitting
Note: This paper is part of the APL Special Collection on Materials for Renewable Fuels Production.
Gianpaolo Lenarduzzi, Thomas A. Cooper; The role of entropy in the success of nonstoichiometric oxides for two-step thermochemical water and CO2 splitting. Appl. Phys. Lett. 27 December 2021; 119 (26): 263902. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0068771
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