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Non-noble catalysts for proton exchange membrane fuel cell anodes

Non-noble catalysts for proton exchange membrane fuel cell anodes

Objective

For PEM Fuel Cells to attain economic viability for mass production, catalyst cost must be reduced. Currently, platinum-based supported nanoparticle catalysts, are used for the hydrogen oxidation reaction at the anode. The replacement of such catalysts by cheaper non-noble alternatives is proposed. Currently, noble metal based systems alone exhibit both the stability required in the strongly acidic humidified environment of the fuel cell, and the sufficiently large current densities required. Hence, the challenge is to find binary, ternary or even quaternary non-noble systems, which have the necessarily high rates of hydrogen oxidation and which are stable in the environment of the fuel cell.

In addition, new developments in membrane technology highlight the need to explore the performance of catalysts in a higher temperature regime (in the region of 130-200°C). To accomplish these aims the following novel route will be used involving a multidisciplinary approach from theoretical design through to the final operating membrane electrode assembly. Initially, Density Functional Theory studies will be used to calculate critical bond energies and activation barriers of processes relevant to the fuel cell electrodes and produce trends in reactivities for metal alloy species and intermetallic compounds.

The next step will be the fast screening of catalysts for these descriptors using combinatorial methods. These two preliminary steps will determine the most promising systems and compositions to take forward into the subsequent stages. The selected catalysts will then be produced as carbon-supported nanoparticles and subsequently investigated with regards to their performance for the hydrogen oxidation reaction, their stability to acidic media and tolerance to CO and CO2. Finally, the behaviour and stability of selected catalysts will be assessed within the single cell environment and their potential for large-scale production investigated.

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Coordinator

DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET (TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF DENMARK)

Address

Anker Engelundsvej 1, Bygning 101a
Kongens Lyngby

Denmark

Administrative Contact

Ib CHORKENDORFF (Professor)

Participants (6)

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COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES - DIRECTORATE GENERAL JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE

Belgium

BORESKOV INSTITUTE OF CATALYSIS OF THE SIBERIAN BRANCH OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Russia

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON

United Kingdom

UMICORE AG&CO KG

Germany

BAYERISCHES ZENTRUM FÜR ANGEWANDTE ENERGIEFORSCHUNG E.V. (BAVARIAN CENTER FOR APPLIED ENERGY RESEARCH)

Germany

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN

Germany

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 32175

  • Start date

    1 February 2007

  • End date

    31 January 2010

Funded under:

FP6-NMP

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 951 857

  • EU contribution

    € 1 492 866

Coordinated by:

DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET (TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF DENMARK)

Denmark