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Sundara Ramaprabhu

Leading speaker for catalysis conference - Sundara Ramaprabhu

Title: pt-alloy nanocatalyst supported on nano-carbon as a novel cathode electrocatalyst for low temperature fuel cell

Sundara Ramaprabhu

Indian Institute of Technology, India


After completing Ph.D. in Physics from IITM, Chennai, the author worked at Darmstadt, Germany for 2 years as an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (AvH) Fellow and for 5 years at University of Geneva, Switzerland. He joined IITM, Chennai as Assistant Professor and subsequently became Institute Chair Professor. He is a DAAD Fellow, Visiting Fellow to Germany by BMBF & DFG German Science Foundations, Visiting Fellow to South Korea and Japan.  He is a member of American Chemical Society and Member of Electrochemical Society. His research areas are Nanotechnology, Hydrogen Energy Technology, Fuel Cell Technology. He has completed 24 Ph.D. students and developed 10 technologies. He has published in 310 International journals of repute and has 42 patents.


Low-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) are the best for transport and stationary applications due to their high efficiency, high power density, low operating temperature and easy maintenance. However, the key task of the scientific community is linked to reduce the cost of PEMFC by finding low cost catalyst. One can reduce the cost of PEMFC by alloying Pt with suitable metal so as to weaken the oxygen binding energy and use the alloy nanoparticles dispersed on nano-carbon support as catalyst at the cathode to enhance the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity. Nano-carbon support have high electrical conductivity and specific surface area, hence it gives a good support for the catalyst nanoparticles. In the present work, the performance of Pt-alloy decorated on nano-carbon as cathode electrocatalyst for PEMFC had been studied. The structural and morphological studies of the synthesized electrocatalyst were done by X-ray diffraction pattern, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Pt-alloy/nano-carbon catalyst when used as cathode electrocatalyst for PEMFC shows 15% more ORR performance compared to the commercial catalyst Pt/C with a considerable reduction in the cost. The increase in ORR performance of Pt-alloy/nano-carbon catalyst is mainly attributed to the formation of a stable alloy by sharing their d-orbital electrons, which will weakly bind the oxygen atoms present at the cathode side compared to pure Pt.

Audience Take away:

•    Explain how the audience will be able to use what they learn? 
(The design of Pt-alloy catalyst for enhanced performance of Low-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)).
•    How will this help the audience in their job? Is this research that other faculty could use to expand their research or teaching? Does this provide a practical solution to a problem that could simplify or make a designer’s job more efficient? Will it improve the accuracy of a design, or provide new information to assist in a design problem? List all other benefits. 
(We strongly feel that the idea of using Pt-alloy to weaken the oxygen binding energy thereby enhancing the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of low-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells will motivate the other research group to expand the activities in this area).