Making fuel cells an affordable alternative to oil-based engines

Problem Title

Making fuel cells an affordable alternative to oil-based engines

Scientific Title

Halogenated graphene as an alternative catalyst material in fuel cells

Student: 
Melanie Muller
Major(s): 
Mathematics
Chemistry
iCons Concentration: 
Renewable Energy
iCons Class Year: 
Class of 2014
Executive Summary 

Proton Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells are a promising renewable energy technology, particularly for use in automobiles due to the lightweight design of the PEM fuel cell. A major challenge faced by this technology, however, is the expense of the platinum catalyst now most commonly used and its deactivation by carbon monoxide from the fuel stream.

One potential solution is to replace platinum with an alternative catalyst material. Halogenated graphene is one such recently identified promising catalyst. The properties of this material were examined using Density Functional Theory, and predictions made concerning the suitability of halogenated graphene for use catalyzing the oxygen reduction reaction in the PEM. Furthermore, the NMR spectrums of several of kinds of halogenated graphene materials are predicted.

Problem Keywords: 
fuel cells
Scientific Keywords: 
halogenated graphene
Proton Electrolyte Membrane