Eric M. Stuve

Eric M. StuveProfessor of Chemical Engineering

Adjunct Professor of Chemistry

Office: 343 Benson
Phone: 206-543-0156
Fax: 206-543-3778


  • B.S., University of Wisconsin, 1978.
  • M.S., Stanford University, 1979.
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 1984. 

Research Interests 

  • Electrocatalysis for Fuel Cells
  • Electrochemical Surface Science
  • Fuel Cell Engineering
Electrochemical Surface Science

Improving the nation's economic competitiveness and environmental management requires advances in portable power handling, in terms of both energy storage and conversion. This translates to a need for more efficient energy conversion in the form of electrochemical fuel cells. Our research focuses on fundamental issues of fuel cells, specifically on issues of electrocatalysis and water transport in fuel cells.

Direct Hydrocarbon Oxidation in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) provide an opportunity for fuel-flexible fuel cells that operate at higher efficiencies than other types of fuel cells. These advantages arise from the high temperature of SOFC operation, 800–1000 °C, which facilitates direct oxidation and reforming of hydrocarbon fuels and a source of high quality waste heat. Some of the issues faced in direct hydrocarbon oxidation are: (1) avoiding carbon formation on the anode and (2) understanding the role of oxide ions in the reaction mechanism. To address these issues we have developed a SOFC mounted in a vacuum system with facilities for accurate control of fuel and oxygen partial pressures and measurement of reaction products by a calibrated mass spectrometer. The measurements highlight the interplay of fuel oxidation kinetics, carbon deposition on the anode, and transport of oxide ions through the electrolyte. We have examined a wide range of fuels; H2, CH4, C2H4, CH3OH, C2H5OH, and C7H8; reacting at gadolinium-doped ceria (GDC), Pt/GDC, and CoO3/Pt/GDC anodes at temperatures of 800–1000 K and pressures of 5–50 Torr. The combined mass spectrometry and current measurements show some fascinating behaviors, including induction periods for electrocatalytic oxidation, spontaneous and forced oscillations, and coupled reforming with direct surface reaction. These effects indicate carbon formation on the anode and changes in oxidation state and conductivity in the near surface layers of the electrolyte. The overall implication is that catalyst activity is a strong function of electrolyte structure, ionic flux, and adsorption kinetics of the fuel. This work is funded by the Office of Naval Research.
Investigation of Water Transport in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
One of the most pressing problems in operating proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells is knowledge and control of the flow of water within the fuel cell. To maintain good conductivity, and hence good performance, the PEM electrolyte must be adequately hydrated at all times. Different operating conditions create different modes of water transport, because protons must be hydrated as they move through the electrolyte. At low current densities (e.g., idle conditions), water must be supplied with the anode gas (hydrogen) for adequate hydration. At high current densities, water must be effectively removed at the cathode to prevent flooding. At intermediate current densities, it is sometimes necessary to remove water from both the anode and cathode. We are investigating how water flows in a PEM fuel cell as a function of operating conditions and fuel cell design. These studies focus on spatio-temporal characteristics of water flow. That is, we desire to understand the time dependence of water transport during, for example, a change from high to low current or vice versa, as well as the spatial characteristics, namely, whether water prefers to through some areas of the membrane, but not others. This information will lead to improved electrolytes and fuel cell designs as well as improved control systems for operating fuel cell cells under dynamic conditions. This work is supported by the Seattle Foundation.
Teaching Interests
Eric Stuve's teaching interests include process design and fuel cell engineering. Since 1992, Stuve has supervised undergraduate research projects in fuel cell engineering. This lead to establishment of the Fuel Cell Locomotive interdisciplinary senior design project, which ran from 1996 to 2004. Working with Professors Stu Adler and Dan Schwartz, he developed a curriculum in fuel cell and electrochemical engineering, consisting of both introductory and advanced courses: CHEM E 345, 445, 446, and 461. 
Other Information
Eric Stuve has published over 50 technical papers in catalytic and electrochemical surface science. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Engineering Education, the American Vacuum Society, and the Electrochemical Society. He serves on review panels for the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy.

Recent Publications

  • Medvedev, V.K., S. B. Adler, Stuve, E.M. Electrocatalysis and Reforming in Oscillatory Reaction of Methane on a Pt-LSC/Ceria Anode for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. to appear in Twelfth International Symposium on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC-XII) 2011, ECS.
  • Árnadóttir, L., Stuve, E.M., Jónsson, H. Adsorption of water monomer and clusters on platinum(111) terrace and related steps and kinks I. Configurations, energies, and hydrogen bonding. Surface Science 2010, 604: pp. 1978-1986.
  • Manghani, R. Stuve, E.M. Enhanced Field Ionization of Water Adsorbed on a Carbon Monoxide Platinum Field Emitter Tip. Surface Science 2009, 603: pp. 165-172.
  • Árnadóttir, L., Jónsson, H., Stuve, E.M. The Effect of Coadsorbed Water on the Stability and Configuration of Formyl (HCO) and Hydroxymethylidyne (COH) Intermediates on Pt(111): A Density Functional Theory Study, in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells, Vol. 8, 2008, T. Fuller (Ed.), Electrochemical Society Transactions, Pennington, New Jersey.
  • Roen, L. M., Stuve, E.M. Design and Characterization of an On-line Electrochemical Mass Spectrometry System for Measurement of Multi-step Reaction Kinetics, to appear in Proton Exchange Fuel Cells 6, T. Fuller (Ed.), ECS Transactions, Vol. 3 2006.
  • Rothfuss, C. J., Medvedev, V.K., Stuve, E.M. The Influence of the Surface Electric Field on Water Ionization: a Two Step Dissociative Ionization and Desorption Mechanism for Water Ion Cluster Emission from a Platinum Field Emitter Tip. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 2003, 554-555: pp. 133-143.
  • Madden, T. H., Stuve, E.M. Development of an Electrochemical Flow Cell
  • Technique for Studying Methanol Electro-Oxidation at Elevated Temperatures. Journal of the Electrochemical Society 2003, 150: E1-E10.
  • Rothfuss, C. J., Medvedev, V.K.,  Stuve, E.M. Temperature and Field. Dependence of Protonated Water Cluster Emission from Field Adsorbed Water Layers on Platinum. Surface Science 2002, 501: 169-181.
  • Scovell, D. L., Pinkerton, T.D., Medvedev, V.K., Stuve, E.M. Phase Transitions in Vapor Deposited Water under the Influence of High Surface Electric Fields. Surface Science 2000, 457: pp. 365-376.
  • Jarvi, T. D., Madden, T.H., Stuve, E.M. Vacuum and Electrochemical Behavior of Vapor Deposited Ruthenium on Platinum (111). Electrochemistry and Solid State Letters 1999, 2: pp. 224-227.

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Dept. of Chemical Engineering

phone: (206) 543-2250
fax: (206) 543-3778