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Prof. Fabio di Francesco, Prof.ssa Elisa Martinelli

Title of the PhD project:
Development of an electrochemical sensor for the detection of hydrogen

Abstract of the PhD project:
The progressive shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to contrast climate change represents one of the most difficult challenges for the incoming decades. In 2019, the European Commission presented the Green Deal, a plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and eliminating them by 2050. For this reason, a widespread use of hydrogen as a clean energy vector is expected in the coming years in many fields including industry, automotive and civil use. Hydrogen has many advantages (its circular lifecycle first of all) but it also poses safety issues due to a large explosion range in air (4-75% V), high combustion energy (142 J/g), low ignition energy (0,017 mJ) and an inverse Joule-Thompson effect (H2 warms when expanded, opposing the behaviour of the other gases). Hydrogen leakages are a potential source of risks, so this project aims at developing a robust, cost- effective, solid-state electrochemical sensor for the rapid detection of hydrogen at low concentrations (< 500 ppm) and the prevention of accidents. The sensor will be based on a solid electrolyte (e.g. ionomers and polyelectrolytes), whose use in hydrogen sensing is extremely innovative. The use of a solid electrolyte could fix three great problems affecting actual sensors: electrolyte leakage, drying and freezing -which reduce lifetime and limit the operational temperature range in traditional sensors.

• F. Vivaldi, A. Cerchiai, T. Lomonaco, D. Santalucia, N. Poma, A. Bonini, D. Biagini, P. Salvo, C. Fanizza, and F. Di Francesco. “Development of a Colorimetric Dosimeter for Styrene Exposure in Shipyards” Sensors and Actuators: B. Chemical 370 (July 2022): 132457, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2022.132457

Oral communications at conferences

Poster communications at conferences:
• “UV-activated metal oxide ZnO/ZnO:Ni based hydrogen gas sensor.” - Chemistry for the Future - 2022 Pisa, 29 june -1 july 2022- E. Eremeeva, F. M. Vivaldi, A. Cerchiai, F. Di Francesco.

Other achievements:
• “Dosimetro colorimetrico per la rilevazione e/o il monitoraggio di composti tossici volatili”, (Patent No. P022581IT-01/lm). D. Biagini, A. Bonini, A. Cerchiai, F. Di Francesco, C. Fanizza, F. Ietto. F. Incoronato, T. Lomonaco, M. Stefanelli, F.M. Vivaldi. (2021).

Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
Via G. Moruzzi, 13 - Pisa, Italy
Corso di Dottorato in Scienze Chimiche e dei Materiali
Doctoral School in Chemistry and Material Science
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