Development of electrocatalysts based on nanostructured carbon materials for fuel cells, and electrolyzers

The main pillar of these activities is the use of tailored synthesized nanostructured carbon materials, NCM, in particular, carbon nanofibers, CNF, ordered mesoporous carbons, OMC, carbon  xerogels, CX, and lately graphene and graphene/CNM composites as support. The properties of these carbon materials can be modified and optimized by functionalization and doped strategies (introduction of atoms of N, S, P and B). In addition, they are compatible with other inorganic materials such as metal carbides and nitrides or oxides transition metal (NiO, TiOx, MoOx, VC, TiN, MnOx) which makes them suitable for the synthesis of hybrid materials with improved performances. These NCM have proven exhibit a unique combination of properties as good electrical conductivity, high specific surface area, good corrosion resistance and high chemical stability to be used as electrocatalysts in many different applications for renewable energy harvesting, in particular PEMFC, PEM Electrolyzers, PEME and Regenerative Fuel Cells, RFCs.  The main constraint of these advanced electrocatalysts, besides the high price, is that they contain high loads of Pt and Metals of the Pt Group, PGM, which are considered Critical Raw Material by the European Union

FCG has been working for more than 10 years in production of catalysts for PEMFC, both in acid and alkaline media using different undoped and doped carbonaceous supports. This has enabled to increase the stability and durability of the catalysts and reduce or even eliminate, the Pt load maintaining or improving the performance of commercial catalysts. Among the CNM, CNF and doped-CNF present the best behavior. Recently, graphene oxide, GO, reduced GO (RGO) and GO and RGO doped with different heteroatoms and their composites with nanofibers is being investigate as electrocatalyst in the Oxygen Reduction Reaction, ORR, Hydrogen Oxidation Reaction, HOR, Hydrogen Evolution Reaction, HER, and Oxygen Evolution Reaction, OER.


Relevant publications

Sebastián, D., Alegre, C., Gálvez, M.E., Moliner, R. Aricó, A.S., Baglio V. Toward new generation fuel cell electrocatalysts based on xerogel-nanofiber carbon composites. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 33, 13713-13722, 2014.

Roca-Ayats, M., García, G., Soler-Vicedo, M., Pastor, E., Lázaro, M.J., Martínez-Huerta, M.V. The role of Sn, Ru and Ir on the ethanol electrooxidation on Pt3M/TiCN electrocatalysts. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 40, 14519-14528, 2015.

Alegre., D. Sebastián, M. E. Gálvez,, Rafael Moliner, María Jesús Lázaro. Sulfurized carbon xerogels as Pt support with enhanced activity for fuel cell applications. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 92, 260-267, 2016.

Rizo, D. Sebastián, M. J. Lázaro, E. Pastor. On the design of Pt-Sn efficient catalyst for carbon monoxide and ethanol oxidation in acid and alkaline media.Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 200, 246-254, 2017.