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Highly efficient and methanol-tolerant nanoparticles as catalyst for the reduction of oxygen at the cathode of a direct methanol fuel cell

Reference

05151-01

Patents status

French priority patent application FR1255944 filed on June 22, 2012 and entitled « Procédé de préparation de nanoparticules de catalyseur pour la réduction cathodique du dioxygène en présence de méthanol »

Inventors

Nicolas ALONSO-VANTE
Rodriguez ALDO GAGO
Ma JIWEI

commercial status

Exclusive or non-exclusive licenses

Laboratory

Description

CONTEXT

Using methanol as the fuel in a fuel cell is well known. Nevertheless, the catalysts commonly used in this type of cell as cathode for the reduction of oxygen (especially platinum-based cathodes) are known to oxidize methanol contained in the cathodic area due to fuel crossover. This parasite reaction consequently leads
to a less efficient fuel cell. Therefore, many scientists have been trying to come up with an improved catalyst that is tolerant to methanol. However, with the known catalysts, there is a compromise between electrocatalytic activity and stability in presence of methanol.

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION

In the present work, the inventors have developed highly efficient and methanol-tolerant nano particles as catalyst for the reduction of oxygen at the cathode of a direct methanol fuel cell as well as the process to synthesize such nanoparticles.

Nanoparticle composition: metallic cluster + chalcogenide sub-monolayer (Pt-Se, Pt-S).

DEVELOPMENT STAGE

Catalytic tests have been successfully assessed on Pt-Se nanoparticles.

A cathode, including the catalytic nanoparticles, has also been fabricated.

Next step: testing in the cathode of a (membraneless) direct methanol fuel cell – objective: 25 mW/mg or 80 % more performance than its counterpart with a Pt cathode.

BENEFITS

The process to synthesize the nanoparticles has numerous benefits:

  • Easy to implement
  • High yields
  • Easy industrial scale-up
  • Environment-friendly

As for the nanoparticles,they show a good compromise between electrocatalytic activity and stability in presence of methanol. This compromise has never been attained to such an extent before.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

The present nanoparticles can be used as the cathode catalyst in direct methanol fuel cells but also in microfluidic fuel cells and in lithium air batteries.

For further information, please contact us (Ref 05151-01)


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