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Proceedings of the Second International Energy 2030 Conference,
November 4-5, 2008, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Electrocatalyst Research for Low Temperature Fuel Cells

Volkmar M. Schmidt1

Colorado School of Mines, USA

X. Xie

Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Z. Ma

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Abstract
Polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) have received considerable attention for various applications (portable, mobile and stationary) due to their high energy densities, low operating temperature, low polluting emissions, and long life times [1-3]. The manufacturing costs, which arise mainly from the bipolar plates, the polymer electrolyte membrane, and the gas diffusion electrodes containing the electrocatalysts, are however a major problem to solve before PEFC technology becomes commercial attractive.

At the Institute of Electrochemical Process Engineering at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, several topics on the electrocatalysis and reaction engineering for PEFC with hydrogen and reformate as fuel gas, as well as for the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DEMF) were studied:

  1. Anode electrocatalysts with high CO tolerance based on Platinum-Ruthenium [4]
  2. CO mitigation by addition of dilute hydrogen peroxide solution to the fuel gas stream [5]
  3. Fundamental research on the influence of hydrogen peroxide on the adsorption and oxidation of CO, methanol and ethanol [6,7]
  4. Cathode catalysts for the DMFC based on Platin alloys [8]
The best electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction in low temperature PEFCs is Pt or Pt alloys dispersed on carbon. However, Pt is expensive and has a limited availability. One option to reduce the electrode costs is to increase Pt utilization and reduce Pt loading. Replacing Pt with a relatively inexpensive nonnoblemetal- based electrocatalysts is another possibility. Therefore, N4-macrocyles were tested in a joint project




 

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