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Activity studies of fuel cell catalysts

Level of work

Master thesis

Motivation

For the commercialization of fuel cells, further development of catalyst materials is necessary, both to reduce the amount of platinum used and thus the costs of fuel cells, and to increase the lifetime of the catalysts.

Project description

For the development of fuel cell catalysts, novel catalysts are usually first tested in liquid electrolytes regarding their electrochemical activity. For this purpose, the materials are prepared as ink and applied to a glass carbon electrode. The advantage of these investigations is that a small amount of catalyst can be used. The disadvantage is that, compared to the fuel cell, the environmental conditions and the 3D structure of the electrode in the electrolyte cell are different. The aim of the thesis is to work out the differences between the activity of a catalyst in an electrolyte cell and a fuel cell. To this end, a modular cell will first be constructed in which materials can be investigated both in the electrolyte and as fuel cell electrodes. Subsequently, the differently determined activities of the catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) are to be compared with each other.

Tasks

  • Literature research on ORR mechanism and its influence of reaction conditions
  • Construction of the modular measuring cell
  • In-situ characterization of the catalysts with electrochemical methods
  • Structural characterization of the selected catalysts
  • Discussion and summary of the results

Requirements

  • Student in the field of chemical engineering, materials science or similar
  • Good technical understanding and enjoyment of experimental work
  • Interest in electrochemical measurement methods and material characterization
  • Very good knowledge of German or English

Starting date

By agreement

For further information please contact Dr. Julia Melke. Please send your application to Prof. Dr. Karsten Pinkwart.

  • The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft attaches great importance to professional equality regardless of gender. We look forward to receiving your application!