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High Surface Area Catalysts for Fuel Cells

Energy, Cleantech & Environmental
Biorefining / Bioproducts
College of Arts & Sciences
Co, Anne
Coleman, Eric
Licensing Manager
Sita, Cordellia

T2013-137 A high performance and durable reductive catalyst for polymer and metal-air fuel cells

The Need

Fuel cells offer a cleaner, more-efficient alternative to gasoline and other fossil fuels, and have the potential to revolutionize the way the nation is powered. Fuel cells operate in a similar fashion to conventional batteries, but fuel cells can be continually supplied with a fresh feed of fuel, much like a conventional internal combustion engine. Therefore, fuel cells have the potential to leverage the benefits of both engines and batteries in a single powerful technology. However, high production costs have limited proliferation of fuel cell usage. To reduce or offset production costs of fuel cells, solutions must increase efficiency or lower materials costs.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University led by Dr. Anne Co have developed a high surface area catalyst for use in fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. Current lab scale testing shows that the catalyst consistently outperforms the DOE target for fuel cells in 2015 with as much as 1000uA per cm2 Pt @ 900mV (versus DOE target 720 uA per cm2 Pt at similar voltage).

Commercial Applications

  • Fuel source for automobiles
  • Power supply for stationary and portable applications


  • Outperforms many of the DOE predictions for fuel cell specifications
  • Easily manufactured through a relatively inexpensive chemical etching process
  • Clean energy substitute for the combustion engine