SBIR Phase I: Cofacial Metal Complexes as Oxygen Reduction Catalysts for PEM Fuel Cells
Small Business Information
Aspen Systems Inc.
184 Cedar Hill Street, Marlborough, MA, 01752
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project involves developing highly active oxygen reduction catalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Most of the technologies and subsystems for PEM fuel cells are currently well established via vigorous efforts by both the government and private industries. However, the electrochemical reduction of O2 to H2O in acid at potentials close to the thermodynamically permitted value remains a daunting challenge. The primary technical barrier to achieving higher operating voltages is the large cathode overvoltage due to the low activity of the oxygen reduction catalyst. Therefore, improvements are necessary in oxygen reduction catalysts to meet PNGV performance and cost targets. In this SBIR Phase I program, highly active oxygen reduction catalyst will be synthesized by supporting cofacial metal complexes on nanostructured carbon aerogels. Electrode structures will be designed for fuel cell catalysts. The aerogel support will be designed to stabilize the cofacial structure of the metal complexes and optimized for both reactivity and facile molecular access. The catalysts will have significantly higher activities and utilization efficiencies than current state-of-the-art Pt catalysts and lead to reduced catalyst loadings. The catalyst activity in PEM fuel cells is too low to make these cells attractive power plants for transportation applications. If the proposed research is successful the resulting catalysts that are more active than the Pt/C catalyst would make PEM fuel cells commercially viable power sources
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