CE05 - Une énergie durable, propre, sûre et efficace

Electroactive molecules for chemically regenerative redox fuel cell – ELMOROX

Submission summary

Answering the global warming problem is one of the most challenging question for the 21st century. To address it, alternatives of energy production using fossil fuels have to be developed. Proton exchange membrane fuel cell is one of the best candidates to produce clean and sustainable energy. It produces energy via the conversion of chemical energy to electricity with high efficiency and without the production of greenhouse gases; only water and heat. However, two major issues for a large scale fuel cell commercialisation (lifetime and cost) have to be solved. The main application fields of the fuel cells are automotive industry and stationary electrical production. ELMOROX program is dedicated to improve the stability and decrease the cost of proton exchange membrane fuel cell. The main objective of the project is to develop a non-conventional fuel cell with a liquid at the cathode to convert chemical energy to electricity at high power density during a long period at lower cost than PEMFC. The fuel cell is composed of a regenerative redox mediator in solution at the cathode and dihydrogen at the anode. Dihydrogen is oxidised at the anode part while the redox mediator is reduced at the cathode without catalyst (platinum free cathode). Then reduced form is oxidised by dioxygen bubbling in another compartment i.e. the regenerator. The reaction occurs outside of the cell so reactive oxygen species will not damage the membrane or electrode which is a classical problem in PEMFC. The cost is reduced because there is no noble metal at the cathode part which typical represents 80% of the noble metal amount in a PEMFC.
To achieve such challenge, the research project will focus to improve the cathode part of a chemically regenerative redox fuel cell device especially the regeneration process. The study is divided in four work packages. The first axis focuses on the screening of redox mediator suitable for this technology. It requires a fast electron transfer kinetics on the electrode, redox potential higher than 0.6 V vs. ENH, bulky, fast chemical rate reaction with dioxygen to afford a fast regeneration. The second work package is dedicated to enhance the chemical reaction between the redox mediator and the dioxygen in the regenerator. Catalyst based on non-platinum group metal will be synthesized and characterized. The third work package consist in setup the fuel cell stand. This system has to deal with gases at the anode and the regenerator and a liquid at the cathode part. Moreover, the catalyst from WP2 will be integrated in the system thanks to a packed-bed reactor. Finally, the last work package is the single fuel cell testing to have access to performance. The performance target is above 500mW.cm-2 during 500h. The goal is not only to obtain high power density but rather steady state power density. Then, the stability over time will be studied in order to understand the mechanism of the regeneration process.
ELMOROX program goal is to widespread the development of proton exchange membrane fuel cell by developing a new design aiming to solve the issue of cost and stability of this technology.

Project coordination

Pierre-Yves Blanchard (Institut de chimie moléculaire et des matériaux - Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


ICGM Institut de chimie moléculaire et des matériaux - Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier

Help of the ANR 206,604 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2021 - 42 Months

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