Development and Application of a New Fuel Cell Catalyst Manufacturing Process(3/3)

Project Details


Fuel cell technologies have advanced greatly in recent years. However, the catalystutilization rate is still low, partly due to the random structure of the catalyst layer and Pt lossduring catalyst preparation process. Because platinum is expensive nowadays, the low utilizationrate of Pt catalyst increases the cost of fuel cells considerably.Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) is a physical deposition method. Because the catalyst layeris formed by particles that is directly ablated from a Pt target, there is almost no waste of Pt. Inaddition, the Pt particle size can be easily controlled to less than 5 nm, increasing catalyticactivity. We have successfully applied PLD method to manufacture the anode of PEM fuel cell.With a very low Pt loading of only 0.017 mg/cm2, the fuel cell has the same performance as onewith commercial catalyst layer of 0.2 mg/cm2 Pt loading. Therefore, PLD is a promising methodfor reducing Pt loading in PEM fuel cell.The main focus of the first year of this three year proposal is to build catalyst heattreatment method using pulsed laser. Effects laser fluence and pulse duration on themicrostructure and catalytic properties of Pt will be investigated. In the second year, we willapplied PLD method and laser heat treatment to prepare cathode catalyst layer. Processparameters will need to be adjusted for oxygen reduction reaction. In the final year, we will try todeposit binary Pt alloy particles as the catalysts based on experience obtained from the first twoyears. We hope to further reduce Pt loading and hence reduce the cost of PEM fuel cells.
Effective start/end date1/08/1731/07/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD)
  • Fuel cell
  • Ultra-low Pt loading
  • Catalytic activity


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