The Latest from the NanoCenter

« Back to News List

Popov's research group synthesizes novel catalyst

January 07, 2010

The research group of Prof. Branko Popov and his research group in the Department of Chemical Engineering have synthesized a Pt/TiO2 electrocatalyst that exhibits excellent fuel cell performance as well as ultrahigh stability—enabling much longer fuel cell life—at high positive potentials.

A great deal of the current work on PEM fuel cells focusses on improved fuel cell reliability and durability. Several factors can shorten fuel cell lifetime, including the dissolution and sintering of the platinum catalyst particles and carbon support corrosion.

Titanium dioxide is widely used in photocatalysis, photovoltaics, water splitting, and gas sensors. In addition, it possesses good mechanical resistance and stability in acidic and oxidative environments. However, its low electrical conductivity has prevented its use in fuel cells.

The new catalyst addresses the conductivity issue, while offering a solution to the stability issue posed by Pt/C catalysts. In addition to showing performance comparable to or better than a Pt/C catalyst, the Pt/TiO2 catalyst demonstrated much better stability over time, with little potential loss.

A detailed description of this work has been recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (Huang, Sheng-Yang; Ganesan, Prabhu; Park, Sehkyu; Popov, Branko N. “Development of a Titanium Dioxide-Supported Platinum Catalyst with Ultrahigh Stability for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Applications,” JACS 2009, 131(39), 13898-13899) and can be found online here.