Design of next-generation electrocatalysts

Many industrial applications are highly dependent on precious metals such as platinum. Eminently, the use of precious metals in new, evolving technologies is being impeded on a large scale due to their low abundance and high costs. Here, a higher availability of cost-efficient catalyst materials is utterly desirable. Therefore, our aim is to reduce the amount of noble metals while keeping the activity and especially the stability up. We rely on e.g. core-shell structures, with a surface enriched noble metal skeleton and a non-noble metal core. Here, especially platinum alloyed with nickel and cobalt belong to the best and cost-efficient catalysts up to date.

Moreover, we are also interested in the area of binary metal based compounds that combine the properties of ceramic materials with these of metals. They not only show higher corrosion resistance than pristine metals but also high electric conductivity and long-term stability at much lower costs. Here we aim specifically to an increase of activity and stability either using these materials as support materials or as electrocatalysts directly. Our target material systems comprise hereby metal carbides, phosphides, sulfides, borides or nitrides.

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