Research on Fuel cell catalysts

Faster Design – Better Catalysts: How a New Concept Combines Geometric and Adsorption Properties

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Successful practical test

Measurement of a platinum electrode with a hanging meniscus configuration.
Measurement of a platinum electrode with a hanging meniscus configuration.
(Image source: Wenzel Schürmann / TUM)

In order to validate the accuracy of their new methodology, the researchers computationally designed a new type of platinum catalyst for fuel cell applications.

The model catalysts were prepared experimentally using three different synthesis methods. In all three cases, the catalysts showed up to three and a half times greater catalytic activity.

“This work opens up an entirely new way for catalyst development: the design of materials based on geometric rationales which are more insightful than their energetic equivalents,” says Federico Calle-Vallejo. “Another advantage of the method is that it is based clearly on one of the basic principles of chemistry: coordination numbers. This significantly facilitates the experimental implementation of computational designs.”

“With this knowledge, we might be able to develop nanoparticles that contain significantly less platinum or even include other catalytically active metals,” says Professor Aliaksandr S. Bandarenka, tenure track professor at Technical University of Munich.

“And in future we might be able to extend our method to other catalysts and processes, as well.”

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