Novel cathode catalysts for PEM fuel cells

Supervisor: Yevheniia Lobko, Ph.D.
Status: Available


Hydrogen fuel cells (FCs) are one of the most promising alternative eco-friendly power sources. Despite the rapid progress in fuel cell technology, FC catalysts are still expensive, not effective enough and unstable during the operation conditions. Improvement of the FCs’ catalysts activity and durability requires the development of catalyst nanoparticles with controlled structure and morphology.

In this doctoral work supported and support-free mono- and bimetallic catalyst nanoparticles (NPs) based on transition metals with platinum will be prepared using chemical methods. The structure and composition of the catalysts’ NPs will be investigated using electron microscopy (TEM, SEM) and photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The electrochemical activity and durability of the NPs will be measured using a rotating disc electrode (RDE) and rotating ring disk electrode (RRDE) techniques. The membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) with the cathode catalytic layer based on synthesized NPs will be prepared using ultrasonic spraying techniques. The performance, electrochemically active surface area, resistivity, and durability of the prepared MEAs will be investigated in-situ using fuel cell testing stations.

The main goal of the work is the establishment of the relationship between the structure, morphology, electrochemical activity and durability of the catalyst NPs in both ex-situ and in-situ conditions of fuel cells.


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  2. Zhang, Jiujun, ed. PEM Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts and Catalyst Layers: Fundamentals and Applications. London: Springer, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84800-935-3.