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Design of Thin-Film Nanocatalysts for On-Chip Fuel Cell Technology (CHIPCAT)
Start date: Dec 1, 2012, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

chipCAT aims at the knowledge-driven development of a novel type of thin-film catalysts for silicon-based “on-chip” micro fuel cells (u-FCs). Combining fundamental surface-science, model catalysis, and first-principles computational studies, a detailed understanding of the surface chemistry on complex nanostructured catalysts will be achieved. This microscopic-level understanding will be used to tailor active sites and their mutual interplay at the nanoscale in order to maximize activity and selectivity and to reduce deactivation and poisoning. Starting from new oxide-based materials with minor demand for noble metals, new material concepts will be explored. Target structures defined by fundamental research will then by transferred to standard FC and u-FC catalysis by using advanced thin-film preparation techniques, such as magnetron sputtering and vacuum deposition. Knowledge-transfer between real and model catalysis will be guaranteed with atomic-level control, using a broad spectrum of surface spectroscopies, in-situ/operando spectroscopies, and microscopies with atomic resolution. Using modern microtechnologies, the novel tailor-made catalyst materials will be integrated into working FC test devices. Prototype devices will be fabricated for performance tests with results fed back to fundamental research. Finally, a process for laboratory-scale production of u-FC batches will be developed. Thus, we will connect surface science, model catalysis, state-of-the-art theory, thin-film-technology, applied heterogeneous catalysis, and microtechnology in an interdisciplinary approach, aiming at the development of a new generation of metal-oxide FC catalysts with improved performance and stability. This project not only will allow to drastically reduce or replace usage of critical materials in the related applications but also will open the pathway to groundbreaking energy storage technologies for mobile devices.

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