Background

Electric powered vehicles need an electric energy storage system or an electric power generator. Today storage systems based on batteries are considered as the most promising technologies for electric vehicles. However, battery storage systems are also the limiting component caused by the high costs, the low energy density leading to limited cruising range, the limited lifetime and safety issues of today available Li-ion batteries. A promising improvement of conventional Lithium battery would be the Li-air battery which offers theoretical capacities and energy densities of up to 6000 mAh/g and 3700 Wh/kg, respectively [1]. As an alternative, hydrogen fuel cells could act as range extenders in combination with conventional Li-ion batteries. However, both energy storage devices, the Li-air and the hydrogen fuel cell, suffer severe power losses at the cathode side due to corrosion of the electrode material and a hampered kinetics of the Oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The development and characterization of novel cathode catalysts will thus be gainful for both technologies. Especially in the field of fuel cells, catalysts with increased activity for the ORR reaction and enhanced durability with reduced Pt loading can both bring down the costs for the fuel cell system and enhance the efficiency and therefore the competitiveness of fuel cell driven vehicles.

 



[1] Y.C. Lu, H.A. Gasteiger, M.C. Parent, V. Chiloyan, Y. Shao-Horn, Electrochemical and Solid State Letters 13 (2010) A69-A72.