Thesis topic proposal
András Tompos
Design of electrocatalysts for PEM fuel cells


Institute: University of Szeged
environmental sciences
Doctoral School of Environmental Sciences

Thesis supervisor: András Tompos
Location of studies (in Hungarian): MTA
Abbreviation of location of studies: MTA

Description of the research topic:

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells are excellent candidates to convert hydrogen to electricity without carbon dioxide emission. Fuel cells can have decisive role in acceleration of the transition between the fossil and the future sustainable low carbon energy systems. The first considerable market must be connected to the electric mobility, as fuel cell electric vehicles.
The main focus of the proposed research is the preparation of electrocatalysts with versatile composition and nanostructure and their usage in PEM fuel cells. For this purpose mixed oxide modified carbon structures (such as amorphous carbon, carbon nanospheres, mesoporous carbon, etc.) will be prepared, which will be loaded by small amounts of platinum. The new materials are expected i) to have complex active centres comprising interfaces of mixed oxide support and Pt nanoparticles, ii) have high surface area, iii) have good electronic conductivity, iv) have appropriate porosity allowing fast oxygen diffusion and v) have improved lifetime due to their special structure.
Structure and physical-chemical properties of the catalysts as well as their applicability in production of electricity in PEM fuel cells will be investigated. The results will reveal the correlations between structure and catalytic performance, and lead to a better understanding of the role of carbon structures and of the synergistic, strong-metal-support-interaction effect between the Pt and the mixed oxides

Required language skills: english
Number of students who can be accepted: 1

Deadline for application: 2020-02-01

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