350079 Electrochemical Characterization of Cu-Based Non-Precious Metal Catalysts for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Low Temperature Fuels Cells

Monday, November 4, 2013
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton)
Kelli Byrne1, Gabriel Goenaga1, Ashesh Belapure1, Samantha Hawks1, Shane Foister1 and Thomas Zawodzinski1,2, (1)Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, (2)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is an electrochemical device that generates electricity by means of a chemical reaction. PEMFCs provide an environmentally friendly alternative to oil-derived fuels with higher efficiency than that of the combustion engine. However, one of the major inconveniences of PEMFCs is the high cost associated with using platinum group metals (PGMs) as the catalyst for the reactions taking place on both, the anode and cathode electrodes. PGMs are scarce, as well as highly expensive. In particular, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in the cathode is very slow and requires a significant amount of catalyst. In our lab, we are investigating non-PGM catalysts based on Cu-triazole complexes as alternative ORR catalysts. The catalytic activity was investigated via rotating ring disk electrode (RRDE) experiments in acidic and alkaline media. We studied the catalytic activity as a function of the pyrolysis temperature, different metal salts, and metal content. We found that our catalyst is the best Cu-based ORR catalyst reported to date in the literature. The next step in this research will be to optimize synthesis parameters, as well as post-treatment conditions, to further improve the catalytic activity and the ORR performance in acidic, alkaline, and microbial fuel cells.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded