Electrocatalytic properties of Pd-based nano-structured material for application in fuel cells
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Fuel cells, especially low temperature fuel cells, are clean-energy devices that have high potentiality for use in electric power production and non-polluting vehicles. Platinum is commonly used as electrocatalysts in fuel cell electrodes, because of its excellent electrocatalytic activity and chemical stability. But, because of its high cost and limited resources, its use represents a bottleneck for large-scale application and commercialization of fuel cells. Palladium could be a good substitute for Pt, because of its similar chemical and physical properties, lower cost and higher abundance. Main challenges concern the development of Pd-based materials with high catalytic activity and durability at a reduced cost (i.e. metal content). Crucial technological issue is the optimization of the active surface of the catalysts, by the control of the morphology, shape and dispersion of the metal particles. The talk will describe the main results of the research activity carried out during the second year of the Italia-USA Bilateral Project in ENEA, concerning the fabrication and characterization of different kinds of nanostructured Pd-based electrocatalysts, by using both electrochemical and vacuum thin film deposition techniques.