The project was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s SUPERGEN Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Hub.
Fuel cells are currently used as a low carbon energy technology for electricity generation in transportation and stationary applications, but the use of precious-metal-based catalysts, especially platinum, makes the technology expensive and less sustainable.
Dr Qiong Cai, Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey, said: “We are delighted with the results of our non-metal electro-catalysts, which shows what can be achieved with such low-cost carbon materials. We could only achieve this via collaborations with Prof Magdalena Titirici (Professor in Sustainable Materials Chemistry at QMUL) who provided advice in material synthesis, and Professor John Varcoe’s team (Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Surrey) who provided the high-performance anion-exchange membranes and ionomers and supported the test of these materials in the anion-exchange membrane fuel cells.
“We believe that more work needs to be done, but our work demonstrates that low cost catalysts can give high performances in fuel cells and can help reduce the impact of climate change on our planet.”