Nanoparticulate mixed metal oxides as electrode materials for Alkaline Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (APEMFCs)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Chemistry


Interest in fuel cells has dramatically increased in recent years with the realisation of the tremendous strain developing on world energy resources. This, coupled with environmental concerns regarding the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, places great emphasis on the development of efficient and environmentally friendly energy systems, such as fuel cells. Low temperature fuel cells typically have a polymer membrane as the electrolyte, and traditionally research in the area of acidic membranes has tended to dominate the fuel cell literature. More recently internationally pioneering research at the University of Surrey into the development of highly conducting alkaline polymer electrolyte membranes has led to world-wide interest in alkaline polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (APEMFCs). The use of alkaline membranes rather than traditional acidic membranes confers a number of significant advantages. In particular, such alkaline membranes offer the potential for replacing expensive precious metal (e.g. platinum) catalysts conventionally used with acidic membranes, with cheaper alternatives. The aim of this study is to investigate one such alternative, namely the potential of nanoparticulate mixed metal oxides as electrode materials for APEMFCs. The project will involve two complementary strands. In the first strand, the incorporation of the mixed metal oxides will be made with a view to reducing the level of precious metal catalysts needed, while the second more adventurous strand will involve the complete replacement of the precious metals. Both strategies offer the prospect for breakthrough reduction in the costs of these fuel cell systems.
Description A range of new materials have been prepared with potential applications for use in fuel cell devices
Exploitation Route The information has been disseminated widely
Sectors Energy

Description scientific findings have been disseminated widely through conferences and publications. A range of public engagement activities have been held
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal

Description Energy Materials Conference (Bath) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation given on oxyanion doping in perovskites and other systems, covering work performed during the grant and follow up work since
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Introduction to Fuel Cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Date: 30/10/17
School: Lordswood Girls' School
Approximately 20 students.

Activity: 2 hour session which started with a general introduction to energy as a topic. Discussed the benefits of green technologies such as fuel cells. Students then took part in an electrolysis experiment where the students generated hydrogen to then powder an LED. Full method here (half way down the page):

After the experiment, we discussed with the students what were the pros and cons of the set up that they had just assembled and then briefly talked about everyday life working as a researcher. As there was still time in the session, we asked the students to have a go at the alginate experiment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017