Planar Oxide Stabilized Metal Nanoparticle Catalysts
Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and has been identified in the Chemical Industry Vision 2020 Catalysis Report as one of the highlighted ares of development with an emphasis on lowering energy requirements via higher selectivity, more moderate temperature or pressure, and higher productive per unit area. A specific area under development is CO oxidation for low-temperature fuel cells that use platinum catalysts to extract electricity from hydrogen gas since CO can poison the catalysts. Not only is there a need therefore, for improvements in types and efficiency of catalysts, but approaches that enhance material utilization. ITN Energy Systems, Inc., in collaboration with SwRI, propose to develop a new paradigm of manufacturable planar oxide stabilized Au, Pt, or Pt bimetallic nanoparticles with the following innovations; 1) conductive oxides supports via dry vacuum processing, 2) oxide stabilized Au/Pt nanoclusters with enhanced activity at the nanoscale (<5 nm), and 3) reduced cost by maximizing Au/Pt surface area (monolayer coverage). Upon completion of a 9-month, Phase I effort, ITN will not only demonstrate the feasibility of producing metal oxide supported, Au or Pt nanoparticle catalysts using established manufacturable processes (vacuum web coating) but satisfy performance metrics, through systematic characterization and test methodologies, that clearly delineate catalyst performance enhancements related to nano-size features of the catalyst and not just increases in surface-to-volume ratio alone. In a Phase Ii effort, ITN along with its Phase I team, SwRI and Dr. Goodman (Texas A&M), will focus on utilizing ITN's proven capability to transition research results into large-scale manufacturing processes. Similarly, in both Phase I and II, ITN will engage existing as well as potentially new strategic partners to ensure product performance specifications are in line with end user performance, stability, and cost specifications. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Improved removal of carbon monoxide from the fuel stream would enable low temperature fuel cells to run at higher efficiency and with lower anode catalyst loading, and at somewhat reduced temperature with resulting improvements in durability. Gold catalysts, with the highest catalyst activity per unit area for some reactions, have the potential to operate in a temperature range of 50-400K lower than traditional platinum catalysts and unlike many other platinum group metal catalysts, the presence of high humidity is actually beneficial rathe than detrimental to the activity. Finally, the use of planar oxide supported gold catalysts for CO oxidation has several direct benefits based on the targets of the Chemical Industry Vision 2020 Catalysis Report with indirect benefits including air quality improvement (CO reduction), energy savings (lower temperatures), landfill space conservation (better material utilization), increased employment (technology commercialization), and lower ecological restoration costs (renewable energy) anticipated as the program transitions to Phase II and III.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
ITN Energy Systems, Inc.
8130 Shaffer Parkway Littleton, CO 80127
Number of Employees:
Southwest Research Institute
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, TX 78238
R. B. Kalmbach
Nonprofit college or university