Date: 21 Mar 2012

The Status of Catalysts in PEMFC Technology

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Abstract

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), which convert the chemical energy stored in the fuel hydrogen directly and efficiently into electrical energy and water, have the potential to eliminate our fossil energy dependency and emissions, when the hydrogen is derived from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, among other possibilities. PEMFCs are being developed as electrical power sources for vehicular, stationary, and portable power applications. In spite of tremendous R&D efforts in the advancements of PEMFC technology, the commercialization is still a long way to go due to the prohibitively high cost of platinum-based catalysts used in the electrodes. However, attempts were made to reduce the quantity of platinum-based catalyst and to extract the maximum activity from a given quantity of platinum in various ways including the development of supported system, employing binary or ternary Pt-based or non-Pt alloy systems, and finding alternate catalysts of various kinds with no platinum in them. In this chapter, we set to examine various logistics and underpinning science in PEMFC catalyst development in one frame analysis, and further, we propose future directions to push the frontiers ahead in order to realize PEMFC commercialization in aspects of both anode and in cathode catalysts of PEMFC.