Fuel cells for transportation and power generation are key enabling technologies for this future. However, the commercial viability of such systems is limited by cost, performance and durability with catalysts and electrodes being of central concern.
Our team has investigated extended surface catalysts as a novel platform for increased performance and durability at lower cost. This presentation will highlight the advances of our team in the synthesis of extended surface electrocatalysts with a focus on PtNi nanowires (NWs). While these materials have shown great promise in ex-situ (rotating disc electrode) studies, performance in-situ (fuel cell tests) has not yet reflected the performance potential seen in these ex-situ tests. In large part we attribute this to challenges in electrode fabrication and integration. This presentation will present results that focus on the differences between in-situ and ex-situ properties, quantification of performance losses in fuel cell tests, and our efforts to further improve performance and durability of such systems. These efforts parallel a number of different areas that Dr. Russ Kunz investigated throughout his career, and have benefitted from the knowledge basis Dr. Kunz contributed to throughout his career.
Figure 1: Illustrative future clean energy system in which hydrogen (water electrolysis) plays a key enabling role.