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October 23, 2012

Title: Development of High Efficiency, Low Cost Electrocatalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Applications

Speaker: Christopher Odetola, Materials Science PhD candidate

Abstract: Hydrogen is a clean and renewable energy carrier. The success of hydrogen economics relies on the competition between hydrogen energy and fossil fuels. The costs of H2 PEM fuel cells play an important role in hydrogen economics. About 40 per cent of a PEM fuel cell’s cost is in the Pt used in the anodic electrodes. There are currently two major approaches to reducing the cost of fuel cell electrodes: (1) Development of non-Pt based electrodes and (2) Synthesis of very low Pt loaded electrodes. Many attempts have made in these two fields and much progress has resulted. Pulse electrodeposition of Pt particles is one of the intensively investigated technologies for synthesis of low Pt loaded electrodes. Some successes have been achieved using this technology. However, Pt particle aggregation has been found to be detrimental to the improvement of the Pt catalysts.

An innovative technology to modify the pulse electrodeposition method for the preparation low Pt loading but higher performance Pt electrodes for use in hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cells has been investigated. Significant electrode performance improvement has been achieved while using less than 0.1 mg/cm2 Pt loading. The measured performance of these electrodes is comparable to that of 0.5 mg/cm2 loaded Pt/C commercial electrodes.