The development of high efficiency devices for energy conversion is a technological urge, nowadays on the world scenario, in order to develop a sustainable society based on non-pollutant and trustable energy sources. In according to this context, electrochemical devices such as hydrogen fuel cells or direct liquid fuels as alcohols or formic acid/formate ions, appears highlighted as a good alternative due to the high efficiency on energy conversion. However, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is the bottleneck barrier for these systems limiting the energy efficiency for application due to sluggish kinetics and large overpotentials. Currently, the best electrocatalytic performance for ORR is usually obtained with materials based in precious metals such as platinum and palladium, increasing the device costs. Besides, theses noble catalysts suffer from instabilities during long operation times. In this way, there is a need to develop alternative electrocatalyst based in non-precious materials such transition metals oxides, carbides or nitrides, offering high electrocatalytic activities and high stability for ORR. Therefore, this project aims on synthesis and investigation of materials based on molybdenum carbonitrides and nitrogen and iron doped carbon composites that fit these conditions and are suitable for apply as cathodes of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: