Nimat maloney '16
Title: Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells with Nanoengineered Pt-based Alloy Catalysts at the Cathode
Problem: Fuel cells with pure Pt catalysts are currently too expensive, inefficient, and unstable to compete commercially.
Activities & Interests: Cross Country, Track and Field, STAT Club, Model UN, French Club, Chem Club, National Honor Society
Abstract: Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)s have qualities such as high conversion efficiency, low pollution, lightweight, and high power density which make them viable options for a wide range of applications. However, their commercialization is inhibited for a number of reasons, one of which is their high overall manufacturing cost due to the platinum currently required for the electrocatalysts at both the anode and the cathode. Additionally, there is an overpotential for the electrocatalytic activity of catalyst at the cathode for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and a lack of durability over continued cycling of the fuel cell. This research implements nanoengineering techniques to create a binary PtCo catalyst and a ternary PtNiCo catalyst in order to determine the characteristics of a successful catalyst by testing each in a model fuel cell and monitoring electrocatalytic activity over a span of 50 cylces each. Alloy catalysts have recently become very attractive for their ability to reduce overall platinum content and therefore cost, and their increased electrocatalytic activity for ORR due to properties introduced by the second and third transition metal.