474979 NSEF Forum Award Lecture - Toward a Distributed Renewable Electrochemical Energy and Mobility System (DREEMS): Electrocatalysis for Automotive Fuel Cells

Monday, November 14, 2016: 8:00 AM
Golden Gate 7 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Yushan Yan, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

One of the grand challenges facing humanity today is the development of an alternative energy system that is safe, clean, and sustainable and where combustion of fossil fuels no longer dominates. A distributed renewable electrochemical energy and mobility system (DREEMS) could meet this challenge. At the foundation of this new energy system, we have chosen to study a number of electrochemical devices including fuel cells, electrolyzers, and flow batteries. For all these devices electrocatalysis plays a critical role in controlling their performance, cost, and durability, and thus their economic viability. In this presentation, I will focus on our recent work on hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells (HEMFCs) which can work with non-precious metal catalysts and inexpensive hydrocarbon polymer membranes. More specifically I will show why hydrogen oxidation reactions are slower in base than in acid for precious metal catalysts, and how we have developed the most active non-precious metal catalysts. I will also outline the remaining challenges for automotive HEMFCs.

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