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SBIR Phase I:Renewable platinum catalyst for fuel cell applications

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2229006
Agency Tracking Number: 2229006
Amount: $275,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EN
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-551
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-03-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-02-29
Small Business Information
131 Baypath Dr.
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Philip Stuckey
 (919) 889-5250
Business Contact
 Philip Stuckey
Phone: (919) 889-5250
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to overcome a limiting step in creating viable hydrogen fuel cells for the automotive industry. The solution will renew the battery catalyst without its removal from the vehicle. This will result in significant savings toward the total cost of ownership and an increase in overall system reliability, one of the top features potential customers evaluate when making automotive purchasing decisions. The transportation industry has been seeking innovations to transition to sustainable solutions such as zero-emission and green hydrogen fuel cell technologies, but the broad adoption of such vehicles is limited by the short lifespan of fuel cell electrocatalysts that operate, expensive fuel cell stack replacements, and the high costs of components. This project will make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles viable and cost-competitive with diesel and gasoline engine vehicles by extending the lifetime of the electrocatalyst and thereby the fuel cell stack. Such alternative options are needed, as diesel vehicles are responsible for around 20% of anthropogenic pollution precursor emissions, and these emissions are linked to approximately 110,000 premature deaths per year._x000D_
This SBIR Phase I project proposes to establish a proof-of-concept approach for in-stack platinum electrocatalyst renewal. Since fuel cell electrocatalysts degrade during operation, this project will develop a breakthrough technology that enables the reuse of what was once considered expended, end-of-life fuel cells by renewing the electrocatalyst.This renewal process can be conducted multiple times after the electrocatalyst inevitably degrades, increasing the lifetime and durability for fuel cell operation. As one of the most expensive precious metals, platinum typically used as the catalyst for automotive applications contributes to about 60% of the total fuel cell cost. This process is the first-in-kind to allow electrocatalyst renewal at the surface of the electrode without removing or replacing the fuel cell stack. This project will establish working parameters for the electrocatalyst renewal and analyze the effects of the process using a custom testing apparatus with a 3-electrode configuration and on commercial fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies in custom single-cell configurations. This team will utilize several techniques including analytical electrochemistry, microscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance techniques to verify the effects of the process._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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