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Methane Fuel Cell Subgroup

fuel cell

Research Groups: Crabtree, Ess, Herring, Meyer, Periana

The application of methane fuel cells for the generation of electricity is currently limited, and use of methane fuel cells in vehicles is not possible. Key to enabling increased use of methane fuel cells is operation at lower temperatures (< 250 °C). Inter alia, efficient low temperature direct methane fuel cells require the development of stable electrocatalysts with low overpotentials for the anodic oxidation of methane.

The Methane Fuel Cell Subgroup (MFCS) is working on fundamental studies related to anodic catalysts for methane oxidation to carbon dioxide. This subgroup ultimately seeks to apply molecular catalysts for methane functionalization into fuel cell configurations, which requires catalysts that activate methane with low activation barriers, strategies for incorporation of such catalysts into electrode configurations, understanding of the challenges and features of interfacial catalysts (i.e., the connection between electrocatalysis and solution catalysis), and understanding of electrocatalytic oxidation of M–CH3 groups to form CO2. With expertise in C-H activation, electrocatalysis, interfacial catalysis and computational modeling, the CCHF is uniquely positioned to develop new science in this area.

Current Methane Fuel Cell Subgroup Projects Include:

  • Develop electrochemistry of surface-attached complexes with hydrocarbons (Meyer)
  • Synthesis of derivatives of known molecular CH catalysts that react with methane for attachment to electrodes (Meyer, Periana)
  • Study of the electrochemistry of known molecular CH activation catalysts in solution or surface-attached in the presence and absence of hydrocarbons (Ess, Meyer, Periana)