Indian scientists innovate Pt-based electrocatalyst, makes way for low-cost, durable fuel cells
Indian Scientists have indigenously developed platinum-based electrocatalyst for use in fuel cells through an efficient procedure. This electrocatalyst showed comparable properties to the commercially available electrocatalyst and could enhance the lifetime of the fuel cell stack performance.
The launch of the Hydrogen Mission in August 2021 has opened a huge avenue for indigenous research and development in the area of Hydrogen Fuel Cells. Fuel cells are energy conversion devices that produce DC electricity from hydrogen with water as a byproduct.
Although this technology has a lot of merits in green energy production, the main drawback comes from the huge cost incurred from importing the components for fabricating the device. In particular, the platinum-based electrocatalyst, imported because of the lack of suitable indigenous technologies for their manufacture, plays an important role in increasing durability and decreasing fuel cell costs.
Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, have synthesized platinum-based electrocatalyst using an efficient procedure. The key step in the synthesis lies in the functionalization of carbon to enhance the carbon to platinum interaction known as strong metal substrate interaction (SMSI), thereby increasing the durability of the electrocatalyst.
This electrocatalyst showed comparable properties to the commercially available electrocatalyst in terms of its performance in fuel cells and superior corrosion resistance and durability. It showed less than 20 percent less, which is less than the acceptable limits of loss in the active surface area of the catalyst (40 percent). This could enhance the lifetime of the fuel cell stack performance. The work has been published in the 'International Journal Of Hydrogen Energy', and a patent has been filed (patent no:202011035825).
Las Engineers and Consultants Pvt. Ltd (LECPL), a Mumbai-based company engaged in designing and building plants for the chemical, pharmaceuticals, and allied industries, is in the process of acquiring ARCI know-how for manufacturing this electrocatalyst.
According to Dr. Tata Narasinga Rao, Director (Additional Charge), ARCI, this commercialization of indigenous electrocatalyst makes green hydrogen technology take off in India.
Dr. R. Gopalan, Regional Director, ARCI-Chennai, feels that indigenous catalysts could reduce the dependence on imported electrocatalysts and would pave the way for Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
Dr. Raman Vedarajan, one of the inventors of the technology at the Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, ARCI-Chennai, feels that this development is vital for ensuring made in India durable polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stacks.
Mr. Santosh Tawari, Director of LECPL, said, "We are proud to be the industrial partner of ARCI for fuel cell component manufacturing.
We share common goals of cleaner energy based on hydrogen, and the "Make in India" initiative is a success in this field. Commercialization of ARCI know-how is expected to begin in the next quarter. Other applications for the platinum-based electrocatalyst are also being ventured.