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DOE awards $1M+ to pH Matter for continued development of COR-Cat high activity catalyst for fuel cells

pH Matter, a developer of new materials for electrochemical applications, with particular expertise in synthetic carbon materials for fuel cells, batteries, and electrolysis, has been awarded more than $1 million in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for the continued development of its COR-Cat high-activity catalyst materials for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. (Earlier post.)

In conventional PEM fuel cells, carbon black, developed for non-electrochemical applications, is used in the electrodes. Carbon black is electrically conductive and provides surface area for dispersion of platinum catalysts; however, conventional carbon materials are not optimal for transportation of reactants, long-term binding of the catalyst, and resistance to oxidation, pH Matter says.

pH Matter has developed a multi-functional synthetic carbon material with optimal properties for performance and durability. This material can also enhance the performance of the platinum catalyst, reducing fuel cell cost.

A key to the cost and lifetime of PEM fuel cells is the performance of materials in the cathode, particularly the catalyst layer. pH Matter’s new catalyst material retains activity following lifetime durability demonstrations of 30,000 cycles, and is suitable for use in fuel cell applications for material handling, transportation, and stationary power.

In this two-year program pH Matter will partner with prospective customers and collaborators to tailor the COR-Cat products to individual application specifications and scale up material production. The funding was awarded through the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

This DOE award recognizes the COR-Cat materials’ unique carbon functionality and opportunity to reduce cost through highly-efficient and stable PGM utilization demonstrated in the laboratory. A key to the cost and lifetime of PEM fuel cells is the cathode performance and we are using our expertise in carbon chemistry to develop catalyst materials with enhanced properties for lower-cost, long-life PEM fuel cell systems.

—Dr. Paul Matter, CEO

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