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Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor receives a $239K NSF grant to establish robust three-phase interfaces for efficient air cathodes for fuel cells

Dr. Ling Fei, Chevron Endowed Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering was awarded a three year, $239,087 grant with the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled Engineering Atomically Dispersed Metal-Site Air Cathodes via Electrospinning at Multi-Scales for Low-Temperature Fuel Cells.  Dr. Fei will lead this project in collaboration with Dr. Gang Wu, Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (SUNY).

This collaborative project aims to incorporate highly active single metal site catalysts into fibrous electrodes via electrospinning approaches to establish favorable and robust three-phase interfaces for efficient air cathodes. The electrospinning technique could also construct effective nanofiber-based morphology and ensure sufficient meso- and macro-porosities in catalytic layers for efficient mass/charge transports and critical proton conductivity, leading to significant performance and durability improvements.

Hydrogen proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are vital for future vehicle electrification, particularly in heavy-duty and long-range transportation applications, due to their high-energy density and high efficiency. This project's outcomes will advance the knowledge of designing sustainable and earth-abundant catalysts and their integration into high-performance electrodes for hydrogen fuel cells and other electrochemical energy technologies. Such inexpensive and clean energy technologies directly benefit transportation electrification and grid-scale renewable energy storage and conversion, which are essential for energy and environmental sustainability.

This project also provides excellent opportunities for education and outreach activities associated with hydrogen energy science and technologies for under-representative students in southern Louisiana and western New York.

Learn more about Dr. Fei's Research →