UCLA researchers in the Department of Material Science and Engineering have invented a novel and highly stable platinum-based catalyst material for fuel cell technologies.
Platinum-based alloy materials (e.g., Pt-Ni, Pt-Co) have a higher activity (up to 90x greater) than commercial Pt-C materials for use as catalysts in fuel cells. However, their use up to this point has been limited due to stability issues. Nanomaterial crystals have been shown to have superior performance over single crystals, making them a leading material candidate. However, Pt‐based nanostructures with both high catalytic activity and stability, which also have a reduced usage of scarce Pt, have remained a challenge.
Researchers led by Professor Huang have developed an innovative and facile synthesis to introduce a transition metal (e.g., Cu, Co, Mn, Fe, Mo, Nb, W, Ta) to a PtNiN-based catalyst. After post-synthesis treatment, this novel catalyst showed significant improvement (2x) compared to the same catalysts without this treatment. This PtNiN-M catalyst uses a reduced amount of Pt and has an extended fuel cell device lifetime. Additionally, this material has outstanding activity and stability in membrane electrode assembly (MEA) based fuel cell tests.
This novel material has been synthesized at large scales (1 gram/batch) and has been tested in MEA-based fuel cell tests. More conditions for post-synthesis treatment, elemental effects, and Pt concentration will be further explored to optimize its catalytic activity.
Platinum, Pt, Pt alloy materials, PtNiN, PtNiN-M catalyst, catalysis, high stability, high activity, high performance, post-synthesis treatment, fuel cells, membrane electrode assembly, MEA, proton-exchange membrane, PEM