PGM-free electrocatalysts for next-generation fuel cells

Accelerating the Deployment of Fuel Cell Systems

The ElectroCat (Electrocatalysis) Consortium is aimed at increasing U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and other fuel cell energy conversion devices by addressing the primary challenges to the widespread implementation of this technology. The precious metal electrocatalysts that are the current standard in fuel cell systems are expensive and restrict the ability to develop fuel cells that are cost-competitive with traditional hydrocarbon-based power sources. In this sense, catalyst design represents the most pressing material barrier related to fuel cell deployment. ElectroCat is addressing this barrier by accelerating the development and deployment of platinum group metal-free (PGM-free) electrocatalysts in fuel cells. To do this, the Consortium is employing a systematic approach in which potential catalysts are synthesized and analyzed rapidly and comprehensively using high-throughput, combinatorial methods. These in turn are guided by computational work and the fundamental electrocatalysis and materials knowledge housed across the national laboratory network. Streamlined data sharing with industry and academia partners is critical to the ElectroCat approach, rapidly building an understanding of PGM-free electrocatalysts across the field and ultimately, enabling the incorporation of those materials into next-generation fuel cells.

ElectroCat is funded by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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Working with ElectroCat

Industry and academia can engage with ElectroCat in several ways, participating through competitively selected U.S. Department of Energy-funded projects or via standard national laboratory partnerships.

These include:

  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs),
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) awards, and
  • Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs).

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