FINAL REPORT DE-FG02-07ER15894

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One of the greatest technological hurdles to deployment of fuel cells relates to the sluggish activity, low durability and the high cost of the catalysts that are currently employed. For automotive PEM fuel cells to become commercially viable, the Pt-specific power density would need to be reduced to less than 0.2gPt/kW (at cell voltages >0.65 V). This would require the Pt loadings to be less than 0.15 mgPt/cm2MEA within the membrane electrode assembly. This could be achieved by enhancing the catalytic activity at the cathode, thus lowering its overpotential. Various different Pt-alloys have shown 2-4 times enhanced activities over Pt ... continued below

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Neurock, Matthew May 31, 2013.

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One of the greatest technological hurdles to deployment of fuel cells relates to the sluggish activity, low durability and the high cost of the catalysts that are currently employed. For automotive PEM fuel cells to become commercially viable, the Pt-specific power density would need to be reduced to less than 0.2gPt/kW (at cell voltages >0.65 V). This would require the Pt loadings to be less than 0.15 mgPt/cm2MEA within the membrane electrode assembly. This could be achieved by enhancing the catalytic activity at the cathode, thus lowering its overpotential. Various different Pt-alloys have shown 2-4 times enhanced activities over Pt alone but still suffer some of the same durability issues as that of the pure Pt. There is a general loss of active Pt due to dissolution and sintering. While there have been a number of elegant fundamental experimental and theoretical studies on ideal single crystal Pt and Pt alloy surfaces which have helped to elucidate the factors that control the activity, there have been very few fundamental studies focused on the stability, reactivity and durability of well-defined Pt nanoparticles. We carried out ab initio density functional theory together with a novel double reference method that we developed to simulate constant potential electrochemical systems in order to model the electrocatalytic reduction of oxygen over model Pt alloy surfaces and nanoparticles. These simulations were used to probe the factors that control the electrocatalytic activity, guide the potential selection of new materials and test their stability under reaction conditions. Ab initio calculations were used to determine the reaction energies and activation barriers for a comprehensive array of different elementary adsorption, desorption, surface reaction and diffusion steps over Pt and Pt alloys involved in the electroreduction of oxygen as a function of surface coverage, the electrochemical potential and temperature. The calculations were used to simulate the potential dependent adsorption and surface reaction energies along with activation barriers in order to determine the kinetics for different surface structures and structural features (step edge and corner sites) to provide the necessary input for kinetic Monte Carlo simulations to follow the rates of reaction. More coarse-grained simulated annealing methods were used to help establish the lowest energy structures and morphologies for different Pt and Pt-alloy nanoparticles that form. The results from the DFT calculations were used to establish an ab initio-derived kinetic database that was used in both 2D and 3D kinetic Monte Carlo simulations that were used to follow the electrocatalytic performance over different particle sizes, shapes and compositions. The ab initio calculations together with the kinetic Monte Carlo simulations were used to complete the following objectives: 1) Determine the controlling elementary reaction pathways and intrinsic kinetics involved in ORR and their potential dependent behavior; 2) Establish the influence of the extrinsic reaction environment including surface structure, alloy composition and spatial arrangement and the humidity on ORR kinetics; 3) Elucidate the effects of particle size and morphology as well as the atomic structure and composition of nanoparticles of Pt, Pt3Co, Pt3Ni, Pt3Fe and other Pt-alloys on the electrocatalytic activity and reaction selectivity; 5) Construct surface Pourbaix phase diagrams for different Pt and Pt-alloys in order to map out the most stable surface phases for different material compositions and reaction conditions; 6) Elucidate the mechanisms that control dissolution and re-deposition of Pt.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER15894-3
  • Grant Number: FG02-07ER15894
  • DOI: 10.2172/1081430 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1081430
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc842317

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • May 31, 2013

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 12:36 p.m.

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Neurock, Matthew. FINAL REPORT DE-FG02-07ER15894, report, May 31, 2013; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc842317/: accessed October 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.