"An Innovative Triple Function Cathode for MEMS Fuel Cells"
State-of-the-art fuel cells yield low power densities of 0.04 W/gram for small cells and 0.07 W/gram for large cells. This low power density results from poor catalytic performance of the conventional fuel cell catalytic electrode. This project will develop a novel, high performance, triple function fuel cell electrode, which will function as a catalytic promoter for reduction or oxidation reactions, as a current collector, and as a channel for gas flow. Phase I demonstrated that the performance of the catalytic electrode can be significantly increased by using a high-surface-area carbon-nanotube substrate, which retards catalyst particle agglomeration and increases substrate conductivity. Phase II will focus on further increasing the surface area and conductivity of this new substrate by adjusting the processing conditions and by achieving a deeper understanding of the mechanism of this surprising improvement. In addition, the cost-effectiveness and commercial viability of the developed materials will be evaluated for their use in methanol fuel cells. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new electrodes should enhance the performance, and power density of miniature fuel cells. The compact structure should make the electrochemical system more practical for use in transportation vehicles as well as in consumer electronics. Other applications of this strong, conductive, high-surface-area carbon substrate material include its use as a support for catalyst systems in the petroleum industries, for the direct activation of alkanes, in ammonia synthesis, and as a selective absorbent
Small Business Information at Submission:
Materials & Electrochemical Research (mer) Corpora
7960 S. Kolb Road Tucson, AZ 85756
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