NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Pt-Ni and Pt-Co Catalyst Synthesis Route for Fuel Cell ApplicationsOxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) at the cathode are the rate-limiting step in fuel cell performance. The ORR is 100 times slower than the corresponding hydrogen oxidation at the anode. Speeding up the reaction at the cathode will improve fuel cell efficiency. The cathode material is generally Pt powder painted onto a substrate (e.g., graphite paper). Recent efforts in the fuel cell area have focused on replacing Pt with Pt-X alloys (where X = Co, Ni, Zr, etc.) in order to (a) reduce cost, and (b) increase ORR rates. One of these strategies is to increase ORR rates by reducing the powder size, which would result in an increase in the surface area, thereby facilitating faster reaction rates. In this work, a process has been developed that creates Pt-Ni or Pt-Co alloys that are finely divided (on the nano scale) and provide equivalent performance at lower Pt loadings. Lower Pt loadings will translate to lower cost. Precursor salts of the metals are dissolved in water and mixed. Next, the salt mixtures are dried on a hot plate. Finally, the dried salt mixture is heattreated in a furnace under flowing reducing gas. The catalyst powder is then used to fabricate a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) for electrochemical performance testing. The Pt- Co catalyst-based MEA showed comparable performance to an MEA fabri cated using a standard Pt black fuel cell catalyst. The main objective of this program has been to increase the overall efficiencies of fuel cell systems to support power for manned lunar bases. This work may also have an impact on terrestrial programs, possibly to support the effort to develop a carbon-free energy source. This catalyst can be used to fabricate high-efficiency fuel cell units that can be used in space as regenerative fuel cell systems, and terrestrially as primary fuel cells. Terrestrially, this technology will become increasingly important when transition to a hydrogen economy occurs.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Firdosy, Samad A.
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Ravi, Vilupanur A.
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Valdez, Thomas I.
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Kisor, Adam
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Narayan, Sri R.
(University of Southern California Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 27, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 2013
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, May 2013
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available