Novel Electrocatalyst Support and Catalyst Supported Thereon


Reference #:  00568

Invention Description:

The subject invention is a novel electrocatalyst support for use in fuel cells and other electrochemical applications. It offers a catalyst support material that can easily be used in place of carbon. The intellectual property also outlines the process for synthesizing the electrocatalyst support.


Advantages and Benefits:

·       High surface area electrocatalyst, provides improved polarization performance over traditional carbon supports 

·       Composition of the materials resists the destructive corrosion resulting from the traditionally used carbon support materials

·       Synthesized at low temperatures, reducing potential production costs 

·       Provide conductivity equivalent to that provided by traditional carbon support

·       Facilitate interactions that improve catalyst activity to reduce catalyst loading


Development/Demonstration / Validation:

The catalyst and support materials have been developed and tested in the laboratory.


Potential Applications:

Though developed as a means to make electrodes for a membrane electrode assembly to be used in Proton Exchange Fuel Cell Applications, this technology has applications in a wide variety of electrochemical applications.



Fuel cell electro-catalyst manufacturers are continually striving to increase the lifetime and performance of their electro-catalysts in an effort to produce an economically competitive, high-performance product.  By improving the performance of these catalysts, manufacturers may lower precious metal loadings in the catalyst layers of a Proton Exchange Fuel Cell’s membrane electrode assembly.  Currently, the main strategy employed to increase electrocatalyst performance and lifetime involves either changing the catalyst synthesis or increasing the surface area of the carbon catalyst support.  Carbon is the most common electro-catalyst support due to its high conductivity and surface area, however, carbon can undergo a destructive corrosion process at high temperatures in the presence of water.  To avoid such corrosion, electrodes with a valve metal oxide mixture that protects precious metal catalysts are desirable, but their synthesis procedures involve heating mixtures to over 1000 °C and the particles produced have disappointingly small surface areas.

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Electrocatalyst Support and Catalyst Supported Thereon Utility United States 11/874,612 8,801,961 10/18/2007 8/12/2014 3/1/2029 Issued
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
John Weidner
Brenda Garcia
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