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Thesis
Home   /   Thesis   /   Elucidation of the Correlation between the Electrochemical Activity of Oxygen Reduction and the Molecular Structure of the Platinum/Ionomer Interface in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Elucidation of the Correlation between the Electrochemical Activity of Oxygen Reduction and the Molecular Structure of the Platinum/Ionomer Interface in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Advanced hydrogen and fuel-cells solutions for energy transition Condensed matter physics, chemistry & nanosciences Physical chemistry and electrochemistry Technological challenges

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC), used in the transportation sector to generate electricity and heat from hydrogen and oxygen. Although promising for reducing CO2 emissions through the use of green hydrogen, the PEMFC needs to enhance its performance and durability to compete with combustion engines and batteries. The electrode plays a crucial role, but the molecular complexity of the electrochemical interface between the platinum-based catalyst and the ionomer makes characterization challenging. Currently, the qualitative understanding of this interface is limited, impeding progress and model predictability. The thesis aims to establish a correlation between the molecular structure of the electrochemical interface and the electrochemical kinetics, focusing on platinum oxidation and ionomer adsorption. A unique device developed at CEA allows simultaneous electrochemical and spectroscopic characterizations. The novelty lies in using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) coupled with Raman spectroscopy and synchrotron-based micro-infrared spectroscopy as original techniques to obtain crucial information for PEMFC applications.

Laboratory

Département de l’Electricité et de l’Hydrogène pour les Transports (LITEN)
Service des Technologies Piles et Electrolyseurs basses températures
Laboratoire Membranes Electrodes Assemblages
Université Grenoble Alpes
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