Developing electrocatalysts with high activity in alkaline media.

CABES seeks to understand how the rules governing stability, in general, and electrocatalytic activity, specifically, translate from acidic to alkaline environment.

Modeling subnanometer electrocatalysts on ultrathin supports to study surface activity.

One of the most promising aspects of shifting fuel cells to high pH is the opportunity to use less expensive materials. It is known that platinum group metals (PGMs) are not the most active electrocatalysts for fuel cell reactions in the alkaline environment. On the other hand, the relative dearth of information about material classes that do exhibit good electrocatalytic activity here leaves the community without clear strategies for where to look for good materials.

Using existing results from the CABES team as a point of departure, the Electrocatalysis Thrust Team will research classes of conducting oxides with promising electrocatalytic behavior through these interrelated methods: thin film screening, shaped nanoparticle synthesis, and scalable nanoparticle synthesis. This thrust will interact with Supports Thrust to explore catalyst-support interactions. Working with the Membranes Thrust, stability and activity under realistic fuel cell conditions will be probed. These experiments will be conducted in concert with the Methods Thrust. The Theory Thrust will help close the loop, both analyzing analytical results and helping predict new opportunities for active materials.