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Highly Dispersed Metal Catalyst: Method for full dispersion of active metals into a high surface area of support to promote efficiency

Scientists at the Savannah River National Laboratory have developed a platinum(Pt)catalyst material that exhibits higher dispersion qualities than catalysts used in commercial fuel cells. Better dispersion translates into improved activity indicating new active sites and/or reducing the precious metal usage. Fuel cell electrocatalysts frequently employ 20-50 wt% platinum while less than 0.5 wt% Pt is needed when 100% dispersed. If every platinum atom is active for catalytic reaction rather than stacked over each other catalyst activity would increase while reducing precious metal usage. SRNL scientists have developed the method for full dispersion of active metals into a high surface area of support to promote efficiency.
A metal dispersion of 1.00 is defined as that 100% of the metal atoms are available for catalysis. Values less than 1.00 may indicate crystallite growth or a surface interference. Even as small as 3 to 4 nm particles, only 25-35% of the Pt is active in catalysis, since only that fraction of the Pt atoms is accessible. The recent development of highly dispersed metal catalyst at the atomic level has demonstrated the achievement of 100% platimum dispersion on carbon-based support and verified the catalyst activity for quantitative conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into water at ambient condition. Further, the catalyst is more active than the availability of Pt, increasing the catalyst activity by magnitudes, or reducign the precious metal usage by the same factor. The highly dispersed platinum catalyst was robust under repeated service and high temperature cycles.
atomic level dispersion -catalytic activity higher than availability of Pt -ultimately efficient -minimum Pt needed -patent pending
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