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PhD Student


1130, rue de la Piscine 38400 St Martin d'Hères

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Using metal oxides as catalyst support in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) are eco-friendly and efficient energy converters, the power range of which allow their utilization in different domains: mobile, transport and stationary applications. Nevertheless, their large-scale development requires further improvements, specifically regarding lifetime in operation. The electrocatalysts used to catalyze the electrochemical reactions are composed of platinum nanoparticles supported on high surface-area carbon. The corrosion of this carbon support is a concern at the cathode [1, 2], in particular during start/stop or fuel starvation events, where the electrode potential may reach up to 1.5 V vs. the normal hydrogen electrode (NHE) [3, 4].

To tackle this problem, carbon-free catalyst supports based on metal oxides are currently developed at LEPMI. These supports must fulfill at least 3 essential criteria to be compatible with the PEMFC technology: (i) be electron-conducting, (ii) possess a texture compatible with the synthesis of electrocatalysts and with the elaboration of PEMFC electrodes, and (iii) be corrosion-resistant in PEMFC operating conditions.

Two oxides have been selected on the basis of promising preliminary works [5-11]: titanium dioxide (TiO2) and tin dioxide (SnO2). Their electronic conductivity is increased by heterometallic doping (e.g. with Nb or Sb) and different synthesis routes are implemented to obtain various morphologies (nanofibers, nanotubes, aerogels). Platinum nanoparticles are then deposited on these supports via colloidal methods (impregnation/photochemical reduction, polyol synthesis, see fig. 1). The catalytic performance of the synthesized catalysts is tested towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in acidic aqueous electrolyte, and compared to that of a benchmark Pt/C electrocatalyst. The mechanisms of degradation of the synthesized and the reference electrocatalysts are investigated with the help of accelerated stress tests.

This project is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR-12-670 PRGE-0007-01 – SURICAT project: Robust and Innovative Metal Oxide Supports for PEMFC Electrocatalysis).

References :
[1] E. Guilminot, A. Corcella, F. Charlot, F. Maillard, M. Chatenet, J. Electrochem. Soc. 154 (2007) B96
[2] E. Guilminot, A. Corcella, M. Chatenet, F. Maillard, F. Charlot, G. Berthomé, C. Iojoiu, J.-Y. Sanchez, E. Rossinot, E. Claude, J. Electrochem. Soc. 154 (2007) B1106
[3] L. Dubau, L. Castanheira, F. Maillard, M. Chatenet, O. Lottin, G. Maranzana, J. Dillet, A. Lamibrac, J.-C. Perrin, E. Moukheiber, A. ElKaddouri, G. de Moor, C. Bas, L. Flandin, N. Caqué, WIREs Energy Environ 3 (2014) 540–560
[4] J. Durst, A. Lamibrac, F. Charlot, J. Dillet, L.F. Castanheira, G. Maranzana, L. Dubau, F. Maillard, M. Chatenet, O. Lottin, Appl. Catal. B: Environmental 138-139 (2013) 416–426
[5] A. Masao, S. Noda, F. Takasaki, K. Ito, K. Sasaki, Electrochem. Solid-State Lett. 12 (2009) B119
[6] F. Takasaki, S. Matsuie, Y. Takabatake, Z. Noda, A. Hayashi, Y. Shiratori, K. Ito, K. Sasaki, J. Electrochem. Soc. 158 (2011) B1270
[7] E. Fabbri, A. Rabis, R. Kötz, T.J. Schmidt, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 16 (2014) 13672–13681
[8] A. Rabis, D. Kramer, E. Fabbri, M. Worsdale, R. Kötz, T.J. Schmidt, J. Phys. Chem. C 118 (2014) 11292–11302
[9] I. Savych, J. Bernard d'Arbigny, S. Subianto, S. Cavaliere, D.J. Jones, J. Rozière, J. Power Sources 257 (2014) 147–155
[10] S. Cavaliere, S. Subianto, I. Savych, M. Tillard, D.J. Jones, J. Rozière, J. Phys. Chem. C 117 (2013) 18298–18307
[11] K. Kakinuma, Y. Chino, Y. Senoo, M. Uchida, T. Kamino, H. Uchida, S. Deki, M. Watanabe, Electrochim. Acta 110 (2013) 316–324

Activités / CV

2013-2016 : PhD 
'Using metal oxides as catalyst support in proton exchange membrane fuel cells'
Supervisors: Frederic Maillard and Marian Chatenet

2010-2013 : Engineering degree
Grenoble-INP Phelma, France
Electrochemistry and process for energy and environement

2008-2010 : Preparatory class for entrance to scientific school
Lycée Saint Louis, Paris, France

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mise à jour le 14 mars 2017

Univ. Grenoble Alpes