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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.

Call for proposal

FP6-2004-NMP-TI-4
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Funding Scheme

STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project

Coordinator

DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET (TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF DENMARK)
Address
Anker Engelundsvej 1, Bygning 101A
Kongens Lyngby
Denmark

Participants (6)

COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES - DIRECTORATE GENERAL JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE
Belgium
Address
Rue De La Loi 200
Brussels
BORESKOV INSTITUTE OF CATALYSIS OF THE SIBERIAN BRANCH OF THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Russia
Address
Prospekt Akademika Lavrentieva, 5
Novosibirsk
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
United Kingdom
Address
University Road, Highfield
Southampton
UMICORE AG&CO KG
Germany
Address
Rodenbacher Chaussee 4
Hanau
BAYERISCHES ZENTRUM FÜR ANGEWANDTE ENERGIEFORSCHUNG E.V. (BAVARIAN CENTER FOR APPLIED ENERGY RESEARCH)
Germany
Address
Am Hubland
Würzburg
TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Germany
Address
Arcisstrasse 21
Muenchen