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    Ziyuan TENG, Minfang HAN
    Shiqu CHEN, Silei XIANG, Zehao TAN, Huiyuan LI, Xiaohui YAN, Jiewei YIN, Shuiyun SHEN, Junliang ZHANG

    High cost has undoubtedly become the biggest obstacle to the commercialization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), in which Pt-based catalysts employed in the cathodic catalyst layer (CCL) account for the major portion of the cost. Although non-precious metal catalysts (NPMCs) show appreciable activity and stability in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), the performance of fuel cells based on NPMCs remains unsatisfactory compared to those using Pt-based CCL. Therefore, most studies on NPMC-based fuel cells focus on developing highly active catalysts rather than facilitating oxygen transport. In this work, the oxygen transport behavior in CCLs based on highly active Fe-N-C catalysts is comprehensively explored through the elaborate design of two types of membrane electrode structures, one containing low-Pt-based CCL and NPMC-based dummy catalyst layer (DCL) and the other containing only the NPMC-based CCL. Using Zn-N-C based DCLs of different thickness, the bulk oxygen transport resistance at the unit thickness in NPMC-based CCL was quantified via the limiting current method combined with linear fitting analysis. Then, the local and bulk resistances in NPMC-based CCLs were quantified via the limiting current method and scanning electron microscopy, respectively. Results show that the ratios of local and bulk oxygen transport resistances in NPMC-based CCL are 80% and 20%, respectively, and that an enhancement of local oxygen transport is critical to greatly improve the performance of NPMC-based PEMFCs. Furthermore, the activity of active sites per unit in NPMC-based CCLs was determined to be lower than that in the Pt-based CCL, thus explaining worse cell performance of NPMC-based membrane electrode assemblys (MEAs). It is believed that the development of NPMC-based PEMFCs should proceed not only through the design of catalysts with higher activity but also through the improvement of oxygen transport in the CCL.

    Xiu LIU, Zhuo LI, Zexiao WANG, Hyeong Seok YUN, Sheng SHEN

    Electrothermal metasurfaces have garnered considerable attention owing to their ability to dynamically control thermal infrared radiation. Although previous studies were mainly focused on metasurfaces with infinite unit cells, in practice, the finite-size effect can be a critical design factor for developing thermal metasurfaces with fast response and broad temperature uniformity. Here, we study the thermal metasurfaces consisting of gold nanorods with a finite array size, which can achieve a resonance close to that of the infinite case with only several periods. More importantly, such a small footprint due to the finite array size yields response time down to a nanosecond level. Furthermore, the number of the unit cells in the direction perpendicular to the axis of nanorods is found to be insensitive to the resonance and response time; thus, providing a tunable aspect ratio that can boost the temperature uniformity in the sub-Kelvin level.

    Jin XIAO, Yingdong CHENG, Jinlong WANG, Chengwei ZHU, Zhen HUANG

    Free piston linear generator (FPLG) is a promising range extender for the electrical vehicle with unparallel advantages, such as compact structure, higher system efficiency, and reduced maintenance cost. However, due to the lack of the mechanic crankshaft, the related piston motion control is a challenge for the FPLG which causes problems such as misfire and crash and limits its widespread commercialization. Aimed at resolving the problems as misfire, a single-piston FPLG prototype has been designed and manufactured at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). In this paper, the development process and experimental validation of the related control strategies were detailed. From the experimental studies, significant misfires were observed at first, while the FPLG operated in natural-aspiration conditions. The root cause of this misfire was then identified as the poor scavenging process, and a compressed air source was leveraged to enhance the related scavenging pressure. Afterward, optimal control parameters, in terms of scavenging pressure, air-fuel equivalence ratio, and ignition position, were then calibrated in this charged-scavenging condition. Eventually, the FPLG prototype has achieved a continuous stable operation of over 1000 cycles with an ignition rate of 100% and a cycle-to-cycle variation of less than 0.8%, produced an indicated power of 2.8 kW with an indicated thermal efficiency of 26% and an electrical power of 2.5 kW with an overall efficiency of 23.2%.

    Hewei YU, Jinke WU, Wei WEI, Xingyu ZHANG, Changzai REN, Yaoqi DONG, Shen CHENG

    Waste biomass-supported magnetic solid acids have particular advantages in catalyst separation. First, a novel magnetic carbonaceous catalyst was synthesized from waste garlic peel (GP) via in situ impregnation before conducting carbonization at 450–600°C and sulfonation at 105°C. The physical and chemical properties of the synthesized catalysts were characterized. It was found that the magnetism of the catalyst increased with the carbonization temperature. The optimized catalyst, carbonized at 600°C (C600-S), possessed an excellent magnetization value of 12.5 emu/g, with a specific surface area of 175.1 m2/g, a pore volume of 0.16 cm3/g, and an acidic property of 0.74 mmol/g -SO3H density. By optimizing the esterification conditions to produce biodiesel, an oleic acid conversion of 94.5% was achieved at w(catalyst dosage) = 10% (w is mass fraction), a molar ratio of n(methanol): n(oleic acid) = 10: 1 (n is the amount of substance), and a reaction for 4 h at 90°C. Further, for catalyst regeneration, it was found that sulfuric acid treatment was more effective for improving the esterification activity than solvent washing, with which a conversion of more than 76% was achieved after the third run.

    Yiheng ZHANG, Shaofei WU, Liwei WANG, Xuefeng ZHANG

    Solid chemisorption technologies for hydrogen storage, especially high-efficiency hydrogen storage of fuel cells in near ambient temperature zone defined from −20 to 100°C, have a great application potential for realizing the global goal of carbon dioxide emission reduction and vision of carbon neutrality. However, there are several challenges to be solved at near ambient temperature, i.e., unclear hydrogen storage mechanism, low sorption capacity, poor sorption kinetics, and complicated synthetic procedures. In this review, the characteristics and modification methods of chemisorption hydrogen storage materials at near ambient temperature are discussed. The interaction between hydrogen and materials is analyzed, including the microscopic, thermodynamic, and mechanical properties. Based on the classification of hydrogen storage metals, the operation temperature zone and temperature shifting methods are discussed. A series of modification and reprocessing methods are summarized, including preparation, synthesis, simulation, and experimental analysis. Finally, perspectives on advanced solid chemisorption materials promising for efficient and scalable hydrogen storage systems are provided.

    Mahmoud BAKRY, Jinhui LI, Xianlai ZENG

    Metal, as the indispensable material, is functioning the society from technology to the environment. Niobium (Nb) is considered a unique earth metal as it is related to many emerging technologies. The increasing economic growth exerts an increasing pressure on supply, which leads to its significance in the economic sector. However, few papers have addressed Nb sustainability, which forms the scope of this paper in order to start the process of Nb market forecasting based on some previous data and some assumptions. Therefore, this paper will discuss different thoughts in material substitution and the substance flow of Nb throughout a static flow using Nb global data to have a better understanding of the process of Nb from production to end of life. This shall lead to the identification of the market needs to determine its growth which is around 2.5% to 3.0%. Moreover, due to China’s huge Nb consumption which comes from the continuous development that is happening over the years, it will also briefly mention the Nb situation as well as its growth which according to statistics will grow steadily till 2030 by a rate of 4.0% to 6.0%. The results show that there should be some enhancement to Nb recycling potentials out of steel scrap. In addition, there should be more involvement of Nb in different industries as this would lead to less-used materials which can be translated to less environmental impact.

    Chao TANG, Yong GENG, Xue RUI, Guimei ZHAO

    China’s aluminum (Al) production has released a huge amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As one of the biggest country of primary Al production, China must mitigate its overall GHG emission from its Al industry so that the national carbon neutrality target can be achieved. Under such a background, the study described in this paper conducts a dynamic material flow analysis to reveal the spatiotemporal evolution features of Al flows in China from 2000 to 2020. Decomposition analysis is also performed to uncover the driving factors of GHG emission generated from the Al industry. The major findings include the fact that China’s primary Al production center has transferred to the western region; the primary Al smelting and carbon anode consumption are the most carbon-intensive processes in the Al life cycle; the accumulative GHG emission from electricity accounts for 78.14% of the total GHG emission generated from the Al industry; China’s current Al recycling ratio is low although the corresponding GHG emission can be reduced by 93.73% if all the primary Al can be replaced by secondary Al; and the total GHG emission can be reduced by 88.58% if major primary Al manufacturing firms are transferred from Inner Mongolia to Yunnan. Based upon these findings and considering regional disparity, several policy implications are proposed, including promotion of secondary Al production, support of clean electricity penetration, and relocation of the Al industry.

    Linmin ZHANG, Bin LIU, Juntao WEI, Xudong SONG, Yonghui BAI, Jiaofei WANG, Ying ZHOU, Huijun YANG, Guangsuo YU

    Co-gasification of industrial sludge (IS) and coal was an effective approach to achieve harmless and sustainable utilization of IS. The long-term and stable operation of a co-gasification largely depends on fluidity of coal-ash slag. Herein, the effects of IS addition on the crystallization and viscosity of Shuangmazao (SMZ) coal were investigated by means of high temperature stage coupled with an optical microscope (HTSOM), a scanning electron microscopy coupled with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR), and FactSage software. The results showed that when the proportion of IS was less than 60%, with the addition of IS, the slag existed in an amorphous form. This was due to the high content of SiO2 and Al2O3 in SMZ ash and blended ash, which had a high glass-forming ability (GFA). The slag formed at a high temperature had a higher polymerization degree and viscosity, which led to a decrease in the migration ability between ions, and ultimately made the slag difficult to crystallize during the cooling. When the proportion of IS was higher than 60%, the addition of IS increased the CaO and FeO content in the system. As network modifiers, CaO and FeO could provide O2− at a high temperature, which reacted with silicate network structure and continuously destroyed the complexity of network structure, thus reducing the polymerization degree and viscosity of slag. At this time, the migration ability between ions was enhanced, and needle-shaped/rod-shaped crystals were precipitated during the cooling process. Finally, the viscosity calculated by simulation and Einstein-Roscoe empirical formula demonstrated that the addition of IS could significantly improve the fluidity of coal ash and meet the requirements of the liquid slag-tapping gasifier. The purpose of this work was to provide theoretical support for slag flow mechanisms during the gasifier slagging-tapping process and the resource treatment of industrial solid waste.

    Chun XIA, Tingyu ZHAO, Junhua FANG, Lei ZHU, Zhen HUANG

    Due to increasingly stringent fuel consumption and emission regulation, improving thermal efficiency and reducing particulate matter emissions are two main issues for next generation gasoline engine. Lean burn mode could greatly reduce pumping loss and decrease the fuel consumption of gasoline engines, although the burning rate is decreased by higher diluted intake air. In this study, dual injection stratified combustion mode is used to accelerate the burning rate of lean burn by increasing the fuel concentration near the spark plug. The effects of engine control parameters such as the excess air coefficient (Lambda), direct injection (DI) ratio, spark interval with DI, and DI timing on combustion, fuel consumption, gaseous emissions, and particulate emissions of a dual injection gasoline engine are studied. It is shown that the lean burn limit can be extended to Lambda= 1.8 with a low compression ratio of 10, while the fuel consumption can be obviously improved at Lambda= 1.4. There exists a spark window for dual injection stratified lean burn mode, in which the spark timing has a weak effect on combustion. With optimization of the control parameters, the brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) decreases 9.05% more than that of original stoichiometric combustion with DI as 2 bar brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) at a 2000 r/min engine speed. The NOx emissions before three-way catalyst (TWC) are 71.31% lower than that of the original engine while the particle number (PN) is 81.45% lower than the original engine. The dual injection stratified lean burn has a wide range of applications which can effectively reduce fuel consumption and particulate emissions. The BSFC reduction rate is higher than 5% and the PN reduction rate is more than 50% with the speed lower than 2400 r/min and the load lower than 5 bar.