Development of new electrocatalysts for the fuel cell - how replacing the platinum can help the system to break through
In Europe, around 1/3 of all energy is used in the transport sector, the majority of which is generated on the road. The associated CO 2
emissions could be significantly reduced if, instead of the internal combustion engines, the vehicles were driven by electric motors, which could contain their energy from the fuel cell, for example. In the proton exchange membrane fuel cell, the chemical energy, which is stored in hydrogen and oxygen, is converted into electrical energy and water, the only reaction product, through "quiet" combustion. A major problem that is preventing the technology from achieving commercial breakthroughs is the currently still great need for expensive platinum, which catalyzes the chemical reactions. This lecture briefly introduces the concept of the fuel cell and current studies on cost allocation. Building on this, current research highlights from the development of precious metal-free fuel cell catalysts - for the substitution of platinum - are presented and an outlook is given as to the areas in which these novel catalysts need to be further researched.