May 18, 2024

Revolutionizing Clean Energy, SRMAP’s Breakthrough in Fuel Cell Technology with LaFeO3 Perovskite

Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], April 26:  In the quest for sustainable energy solutions to meet the soaring global energy demands, an innovative breakthrough has emerged from the laboratories of SRM University-AP, situated in the picturesque state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Spearheaded by a dynamic trio of academicians—Gopa Nandikes, Pankaj Pathak, and Lakhveer Singh—this revolutionary research has led to the creation of a novel process for the preparation of LaFeO3 perovskite, a material that promises to redefine the landscape of fuel cell technology.

The significance of this invention cannot be understated in an era where the reliance on clean and efficient energy conversion methods is paramount. Fuel cells, which convert chemical energy into electrical energy while producing water as a by-product, stand at the forefront of such sustainable technologies. However, their widespread adoption has been hindered by the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity at the cathode, a critical component in the efficiency of fuel cells. The conventional use of Platinum (Pt) and Platinum group metals (PGM) as electro-catalysts, despite their optimal performance, faces the significant challenges of limited supply and exorbitant costs.

Enter the realm of LaFeO3 perovskite, a beacon of hope in the search for viable alternatives to Pt and PGM. This material, as developed by the team at SRM University-AP, showcases exceptional properties that make it a prime candidate for use in various applications, including photocatalysis, water splitting, semiconductors, and solar cells. Its potential as an ORR catalyst for fuel cells, however, is where it truly shines, offering a cost-efficient solution with considerable structural stability and compositional flexibility.

The journey to this innovation began with an exploration of perovskite oxide-based ORR electrocatalysts, which have garnered attention for their promising attributes. The unique composition of LaFeO3, featuring rare earth elements and transition metals, allows for significant improvements in electrical conductance and oxygen vacancies. This makes it an ideal candidate for enhancing the catalytic property of perovskite oxides, thereby addressing the critical limitations of current ORR catalysts.

Currently at TRL 2, the inventors are focused on scaling up the synthesis process to produce LaFeO3 in larger quantities, with an eye towards reducing production costs and increasing efficiency. Preliminary tests at the laboratory scale have confirmed the efficacy of LaFeO3 as an ORR catalyst in microbial fuel cells, setting the stage for further development to ensure compatibility with fuel cell architectures and manufacturing processes.

The implications of this patent extend far beyond the realms of academia, with the potential to revolutionize the energy sector by making fuel cells a more viable and sustainable option. The team at SRM University-AP is actively seeking collaboration with academic researchers, industries, and government agencies to bring this technology to fruition, ensuring that the benefits of their work can be realized on a global scale.

For investors and industry stakeholders, the promise of LaFeO3 perovskite represents a significant opportunity. Not only does it offer a path to overcoming the challenges faced by current fuel cell technologies, but it also aligns with the growing demand for sustainable energy solutions. As the world looks to cleaner, more efficient energy sources, the work being done at SRM University-AP stands as a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in shaping a greener future. Reach out to coordinator.ipr@srmap.edu.in  for more details on technology transfer.

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