Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) are considered a cornerstone technology for a future sustainable hydrogen based economy. High costs of materials, insufficient durability of the stack components and lack of hydrogen infrastructure have so far hindered widespread utilisation of this promising technology. The most important ageing phenomena in a PEMFC stack are degradation and poisoning of the proton conducting membrane and the carbon supported Pt (Pt/C) or PT-alloy catalyst, issues that will be addressed in detail in the project.
- To increase the stability of the Pt/C catalyst in PEMFC by replacing the carbon black support by carbon nanotubes (CNT), nanofibres (CNF) or novel hybrid carbon naomaterial or nanobuds.
- To increase the durability of the PEMFC MEAs by using optimised Pt-alloy oxygen reduction catalysts to decrease the concentration of harmful reaction intermediates.
- To study the interactions between the Pt catalyst and the different carbon nanostructures for optimal deposition of Pt nanoparticles onto the carbon support and for prevention of Pt particle growth during FC operation.
- To develop analytical tools to study the membrane and catalyst ageing phenomena.
- To improve the quality and reproducibility of the MEA preparation techniques for reliable in-situ FC testing of the nanotube based catalysts.
- Education of FC scientists by organisation of annual PhD summer schools within the research field.