The polymer fuel cell (PEMFC) is the most developed and most widespread fuel cell today. It is the one applied in the 15 hydrogen vehicles of the Copenhagen Municipality, tenths of thousands of combined heat and power installations in Japan, German submarines and the uninterruptable power supplies that have become a popular alternative to batteries and diesel generators. One of the absolute largest hindrances for a really big roll out of fuel cells is cost, but cost is expected to decrease for all components as mass production is realised - all components but one, the catalyst, which can so far only be manufactured successfully from platinum. Increased production will lead to increased platinum prices due to increased demand. Moreover, the platinum resources are limited. All cars can for instance not be replaced by fuel cell cars because there is not enough platinum for that.

The project NonPresious aims at developing active catalysts based on more common and cheaper materials for the replacement of platinum in fuel cells. This has for many years been attempted without the decisive breakthrough, but over recent years the development has started accelerating with nitrogen containing metal compounds and nitrogen doped carbon structures. Lately, researchers at DTU, the applicant, have found a new structure of iron and carbon with promising catalytic properties and a surprising stability. This and other catalyst materials will be further developed in the project.


Jens Oluf Jensen
Head of Section, Professor
DTU Energy
+45 45 25 23 14