This project aims to develop nanostructured composite electrocatalysts and metal carbide supports for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in acid media, and evaluate their electrochemical activity and stability after accelerated stress tests. Studies will be performed at rotating ring/disk thin porous coating electrodes in liquid electrolyte; gas diffusion electrodes in H2/O2 proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) single cells; and dry electrochemical environment using a Nafion® membrane as polymer electrolyte. The main goals of the project are (1) to prepare nanostructured composite materials of platinum and other transition metals; (2) to synthesize transition metal carbides to be used as catalyst supports; (3) to characterize formed materials by using several techniques such as X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; (4) to evaluate their electrocatalytic activity for the ORR, and (5) to determine the electrochemical stability and durability of these materials after submitted to accelerated aging procedures. Emphasis will be given to analyze these structures using the identical location transmission electron microscopy (ILTEM) technique, in order to verify the effects of catalyst layer aging.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: