EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I013032/1
Title: Development of novel mesoporous Pd based electrocatalysts for methanol tolerant oxygen reduction
Principal Investigator: Kucernak, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2011 Ends: 31 January 2015 Value (£): 355,634
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fuel Cell Technologies
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Oct 2010 China Energy Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The project is being submitted as part of the Collaborative Research with China on Solar Cells, Solar Fuels and Fuel Cells and is being submitted by Prof. Anthony Kucernak, Imperial College London, and Prof.Hui Yang, Energy Science and Technology Laboratory, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (Chinese Academy of Sciences).Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are a class of fuel cells which use methanol as a fuel. Methanol is a ubiquitous, high energy density fuel which can be produced from biogenic sources. It is easier to transport and store than hydrogen, and DMFCs can be produced with much higher energy densities than lithium-ion battery systems. One issue with DMFCs is that they suffer from crossover of methanol from the fuel electrode (anode) to the air electrode (cathode). The crossover is bad because the common catalysts used for the cathode are affected by methanol leading to a decrease in the power output of the DMFC. Our approach in this proposal is to develop new cathode catalysts which do not suffer from the methanol deactivation problem and so can produce higher power outputs than current catalysts. At the same time, the new catalysts will be less expensive and show greater stability over time.Our approach relies on the observation that palladium (<1/3 cost of platinum - the current preferred catalyst) is very poor at methanol oxidation. We have produced preliminary cathode catalysts composed of palladium alloys which are able to catalyse oxygen reduction in the presence of methanol much better than platinum alone. At this stage our research is tantalising close to realising the production of catalysts with real commercial possibility, but we need to test a number of effects in order to optimise the performance of catalysts and find the optimum composition and structure. These effects include:a) The optimum composition of the catalystb) The optimum composition of the catalyst supportc) The optimum structure (morphology) of the catalyst and supportWithin this project we will examine each of these effects and develop an optimised catalyst for the cathode of the DMFC. The work will occur over the course of three years and we will at every stage examine the possibility fo commercialising out catalysts. The work will be performed at Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT), and Imperial College London(IMP). The work program is structured to rest on the strengths of the two applicants who have complimentary scientific approaches. Prof. Hui Yang (SIMIT) has extensive research experience in the production of Pd catalysts for DMFCs and the testing of passive DMFC systems. Prof Anthony Kucernak (IMP) has experience in the synthesis of mesoporous catalysts and the development of in situ electrochemical measurements necessary to understand the performance of these systems. Neither of the two applicants could consider undertaking this project alone, and as such this programme will be a useful forum for the exchange of techniques and methods. Central to this programme is the exchange of people between the two establishments to facilitate a cross-fertilisation of ideas and expose the workers to different environments and atmospheres.The research, to be disseminated broadly, will enable not only more efficient energy systems but will answer fundamental questions on the nature of electrode processes. The international collaboration will involve postdoctoral scholars and will facilitate meaningful UK/China exchanges.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk