Chapter 10

9.1: Development of Platinum-Free Catalysts for PEM Fuel Cell Technology

Ben Alston, Sean Higgins, Hywel Davies, Andrew Creeth, Richard J. Nichols and Andrew I. Cooper

Abstract

With the need to meet the ever increasing energy demand from non-fossil fuel sources, studies into PEM (proton exchange membrane) Fuel Cells become an important area of research today. ACAL Energy’s patented FlowCath technology provides a low-cost and radical alternative to current technology using a liquid catalyst (catholyte) to replace up to 80% of the solid Pt found in standard PEM Fuel Cells. In this work, we incorporate high-throughput methods to improve the productivity and quality of research-enabling the development of new liquid catholytes. The utilization of high-throughput method produced in excess of two hundred formulations which were tested against the current catholyte system. Here, we show a selection of post-synthetic formulations which resulted in improved performance compared to the standard catholyte system. Two new formulations were developed with improved anodic current as well as no decrease in the standard rate constant for electron transfer (k0) while an increase in k0 and an increase in cathodic current were also evident, respectively. The development of these high-throughput methods will allow for rapid development of the FlowCath technology and aid in the synthesis of the next generation of catholyte.

Total Pages: 317-326 (10)

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