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Highly Dispersed Metal Catalyst

Method for full dispersion of active metals into a high surface area of support to promote efficiency

Savannah River National Laboratory

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Dr. X. Steve Xiao, Fellow Engineer, Savannah River National Laboratory
Dr. X. Steve Xiao, Fellow Engineer, Savannah River National Laboratory

Technology Marketing Summary

Scientists at the Savannah River National Laboratory have developed a platinum(Pt)catalyst material that exhibits higher dispersion qualities than catalysts used in commercial fuel cells. Better dispersion translates into improved activity indicating new active sites and/or reducing the precious metal usage. Fuel cell electrocatalysts frequently employ 20-50 wt% platinum while less than 0.5 wt% Pt is needed when 100% dispersed. If every platinum atom is active for catalytic reaction rather than stacked over each other catalyst activity would increase while reducing precious metal usage. SRNL scientists have developed the method for full dispersion of active metals into a high surface area of support to promote efficiency.


A metal dispersion of 1.00 is defined as that 100% of the metal atoms are available for catalysis. Values less than 1.00 may indicate crystallite growth or a surface interference. Even as small as 3 to 4 nm particles, only 25-35% of the Pt is active in catalysis, since only that fraction of the Pt atoms is accessible. The recent development of highly dispersed metal catalyst at the atomic level has demonstrated the achievement of 100% platimum dispersion on carbon-based support and verified the catalyst activity for quantitative conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into water at ambient condition. Further, the catalyst is more active than the availability of Pt, increasing the catalyst activity by magnitudes, or reducign the precious metal usage by the same factor. The highly dispersed platinum catalyst was robust under repeated service and high temperature cycles.

  • atomic level dispersion
  • catalytic activity higher than availability of Pt
  • ultimately efficient
  • minimum Pt needed
  • patent pending
Applications and Industries

Potential users include fuel cell developers, auto makers, and federal and state governments, since this type of crosscutting technology will enable fuel cell development to overcome two major challenges: efficiency and cost.
Fuel cell applications include:
-Vehicle market
-Stationary and portable power
-Off-road applications
-Marine vessels
-Consumer electronics
-Direct fuel cell

Other applications include:
-LEL sensors
-Rechargeable batteries
-Radioactive material confinement
-Homeland Security/Nonproliferation

More Information

SRNS invites interested companies with proven capabilties in this area of expertise to develop commercial applications for this process or product under a cooperative research and development agreement or licensing agreement. Interested companies will be requested to submit a business plan setting forth company qualifications, strategies, activities, and milestones for commercializing this invention. Qualifications should include past experience at bringing similar products to market, reasonable schedule for product launch, sufficient manufacturing capacity, established distribution networks, and evidence of sufficient financial resources for product development and launch.

Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Dale Haas, Commercialization Manager<>