Rational Design of Low-Pt and Pt-free Nanostructured Catalysts for PEM Fuel Cells

Shuhui Sun
Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Energy, Materials and Telecommunications 

Abstract: As clean and sustainable energy conversion devices, Hydrogen fuel cells (H2-FCs) are expected to play dominant role in future clean energy solutions for various applications. However, the high cost of Pt catalyst is one of the main obstacles for the wide-spread commercialization of PEMFCs. Therefore, developing highly efficient low-Pt and Pt-free catalysts are the key to solve the above-mentioned challenges.

In this talk, I will present our recent progress in developing advanced electrocatalysts mainly for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in H2-FCs. Among the non-precious-metal (NMP, Pt-free) catalysts, Fe/N/C catalysts are considered one of the most promising ORR catalysts. One major breakthrough has been made by Dodelet et al, with activity and performance of Fe/N/C catalyst approaching to that of Pt. However, the durability of Fe/N/C catalysts is still insufficient for practical applications and its performance decay mechanism is still unclear. Very recently, we made a systematic study to verify whether iron is at the origin of the first rapid decay (stability problem) of the Fe/N/C catalyst for ORR in PEMFCs, which is important to find better ways to improve the durability of Fe/N/C catalysts. Moreover, other types of novel nanostructured NPM catalysts will also be discussed. At the same time, a series of low-Pt nanostructured electrocatalysts, synthesize by green chemistry and atomic layer deposition (ALD), including nanowires, nanotubes and single atoms, for fuel cells will also be presented.  

Biography: Prof. Shuhui Sun directs the Laboratory of Sustainable Nanotechnology at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, center for Energy, Materials, and Telecommunications (INRS-EMT) in Montreal, Canada. His current research interests focus on the development of multi-functional nanomaterials (graphene, CNTs, MOF, metal and metal oxides) for Energy and Environment, including PEM fuel cells (low-Pt and Pt-free catalysts), Li-ion and Na-ion batteries, photoelectrochemical hydrogen generation, as well as Wastewater treatment. He has published 10 book chapters, over 100 articles in journals including Energy Environmental Science, Adv. Mater., Adv. Energy Mater., Materials Today, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Nano Energy, Adv. Funct. Mater., Chem. Mater, etc., and holds 2 US patents. His publications have been cited over 4500 times and his H index is 33.  
He is the recipient of various awards, such as the Fellow of Global Young Academy (2017), ECS-Toyota Young Investigator Fellow (2017), IUPAC Prof. Jiang Novel Materials Youth Prize (2017), Canada Governor General's Academic Gold Medal, NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada fellowship, the 1st Prize of Natural Science Award of Anhui Province, ISE award for young electrochemist, etc. He is a member of ISE, ECS, CSC, CQMF, Plasma Quebec, Sigma Xi, and UNESCO Chair for Materials and Technology for Energy Conversion, Saving and Storage (MATECSS). He is the Vice President of the International Academy of Electrochemical Energy Science (IAOEES). He serves as the Executive Editor-in-Chief of Electrochemical Energy Reviews (EER), editor of Nano Advances, and the editorial board member for another 3 journals related to nanomaterials and energy.