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Nanosegregated Surfaces as Catalysts for Fuel Cells (IN-07-054)

Argonne National Laboratory

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<p>
	<strong><em>Schematic illustration of the nanosegregated Pt(111)-Skin near surface atomic layers with oscillatory compositional profile</em></strong></p>

Schematic illustration of the nanosegregated Pt(111)-Skin near surface atomic layers with oscillatory compositional profile

Technology Marketing Summary

Fuel cells are an important component in the energy industry, but the high cost of producing the platinum catalyst—an essential part of a fuel cell—has historically kept fuel cells from being commercially viable. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have devised a process for creating a “nanosegregated” platinum alloy catalyst with significantly enhanced properties, making it cost-effective and highly attractive for use in fuel cells.

Description

In the energy industry, fuel cells are rapidly becoming an important component. However, the high cost of manufacturing the platinum catalyst—a required element in a fuel cell—makes fuel cells commercially uncompetitive. So far, such catalysts have not been able to meet demands to assure the fuel cell’s long-term operation.

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a method for creating a new class of platinum multi-metallic catalysts that are not only compositionally stable but also exhibit an advantageous electronic structure with enhanced catalytic properties.

Under this process, scientists created an alloy of platinum and one or more transition metals (such as cobalt, nickel, iron, titanium, chromium and others). They modified the near surface layers by annealing, which induces formations known as nanosegregated surfaces. These surfaces vastly improve performance and result in a catalyst particularly advantageous for use in polymer electrolyte fuel cells, by overcoming kinetic limitations for the oxygen reduction reaction.

Benefits

Key benefits of this new process include enhanced catalytic properties that drive improved performance, greater stability and cost-effectiveness.

Applications and Industries

?   Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

?   Energy storage devices, such as metal-air batteries

?   Magnetic storage devices

?   Automotive industry

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 7,871,738
Patent
7,871,738
Nanosegregated surfaces as catalysts for fuel cells
A method of preparing a nanosegregated Pt alloy having enhanced catalytic properties. The method includes providing a sample of Pt and one or more of a transition metal in a substantially inert environment, and annealing the sample in such an environment for a period of time and at a temperature profile to form a nanosegregated Pt alloy having a Pt-skin on a surface. The resulting alloy is characterized by a plurality of compositionally oscillatory atomic layers resulting in an advantageous electronic structure with enhanced catalytic properties.
Argonne National Laboratory 01/18/2011
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
IN-07-054PrototypeAvailable02/11/201302/11/2013

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To: Elizabeth Jordan<partners@anl.gov>