ULL- Department of Physical Chemistry (Team Leader: Prof. Elena Pastor Tejera)

General description:
The “Surface Science and Electrocatalysts” Group (CSEC) of the Department of Physical Chemistry is affiliated to Institute of Materials and Nanotechnology (IMN, http://www.ull.es/view/institutos/imn/Inicio/es). More than 20 professors and a similar number of non-permanent staff (PostDocs, PhDs and diploma students) works at the IMN. Current active research lines of the CSEC Group are:
· Synthesis and characterization of metal nanostructures, specially NPs and clusters.
· Development of catalysts supported on different carbonaceous materials (carbon nanofibers, mesoporous carbons, graphene, etc) for DAFCs, in order to establish the influence of the support on final efficiencies of the materials.
· The application of spectroelectrochemical methods to study the oxidation mechanisms of fuels of interest in DAFCs.
· Synthesis and characterization of unsupported metal catalysts for application in micro-fuel cells.
Development of catalysts for methanol electro-oxidation based on Mo carbides at room temperature, with the purpose to reduce the content of Pt and noble metals.

Role in the project and main tasks:
The ULL Group will be the leader of WP5 focussed on the preparation of catalyst based on group 6 metal carbides, MCx (M=Mo,W) and the electrochemical characterization of these materials towards EOR in low range temperatures. The new intermediate-T cell developed in the project will be installed and connected to a mass spectrometer to investigate the mechanism of the EOR under different conditions and with varying systems. ULL will also contribute to the dissemination in WP8 and to the evaluation of the catalysts and test cell at intermediate temperatures in WP6.

Relevant experience:
Since 1994, the CSEC Group has been involved in the preparation and physicochemical and spectroelectrochemical characterisation of catalysts for PEMFC and DAFC, finally determining their efficiency at single cell test stations. Main efforts were focussed in the application of DEMS and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIRS) to study the adsorption at the metal/electrolyte interface and the characterization of adsorbed species, as well as to the elucidation of structural effects in electrocatalysis. Concerning the contribution in the present project, ethanol and C3-alcohols oxidation have been investigated in the group, and as indicated in point 5 of the general description, first studies on the preparation and electrochemical characterization of metal carbides have been already performed.

Key persons:
Dr. Elena Pastor is the head of CSEC Group and Director of the IMN. She is responsible for the Infrared Spectroscopic Service at the Support Services for Research (SEGAI) of the ULL and member of the Manager Committee of SEGAI. She has led several national, regional and international founded projects and has around 100 publications in international journals. The main research topics are the development of metal nanostructures and the study of their properties, and the preparation of more efficient catalyst with low noble metal content for DAFCs.
Dr. José Luis Rodríguez belongs to the ECSC Group and his research activity has been centred on the application of not commercial spectro-electrochemical methods to electrocatalysis studies. Currently, he is Director of SEGAI at the ULL.
Dr. Carmen Arévalo is also an expertise in electrochemistry and electrocatalysis.
Dra. Maria Victoria Martinez Huerta, from the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry CSIC, Madrid, is external to the ULL staff and she is not specifically dedicated to DECORE. She carries out her normal work in collaboration with ULL within another national project on Fuel Cell, whose topics are partially overlapping with DECORE, and she is hired and paid by their organization. No expenses is charged to DECORE for her activities. Her contribution to the field will be included in the scientific reports, but she will not contribute to the total person/month efforts. Her contribution will be on WP5 (Task 5.1), sharing her expertise in the metal carbide preparation.
 

One postdoc and one Ph.D. positions over three years each will be charged to the DECORE project.