Nitrogen Containing Carbon Catalyst for use in PEM fuel cell cathodes
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Honors Theses; 2006
Fuel cells are an alternative energy source to traditional energy sources, such as combustion engines or batteries. They create energy through the electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, leaving water as a byproduct. Therefore as an energy source, fuel cells are very clean, effective, and environmentally friendly, making them advantageous in the long run when compared with most traditional energy sources. There are many classes of fuel cells, but low temperature PEM fuel cells are especially important because they are used in transportation and automotive industries. Although fuel cells have many advantages, they are not currently cost effective to produce. This research explores the creation and implementation of alternative materials that are cheaper, and have better active and conductive properties which will help improve the performance of fuel cells, and make them available for application in daily life. During this study, composites of highly active (but less conductive) and highly conductive (but less active) catalyst were determined to be useful for the making of better materials. The best composite found was one that contained 25% active fibers and a secondary conductive catalyst. In addition, Fe and Co supported by SiO2 or MgO had high activity and better conductivity than fibers grown from Fe supported by Al2O3 in some cases. No methanol oxidation activity was observed, this is a positive result for methanol fuel cells since methanol would not react with the materials used in the fuel cell. Separation techniques and full fuel cells were studied as well.
College of Engineering, Honors Research