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Argonne National Lab

About Argonne National Laboratory

At Argonne National Laboratory, world-class scientists and engineers work alongside experts from industry and academia to address vital national challenges in clean energy, the environment, health, and national security. Energy efficiency programs include the development of higher-performance batteries, fuel cells, advanced vehicle engines, alternative fuels, smart electrical grids, and more efficient manufacturing and industrial technologies. Argonne has 3,350 total employees, a yearly budget of $722 million, and hosts more than 6,500 researchers every year at its six national User Facilities.

Capabilities

Argonne scientists and engineers have the expertise, capabilities, and facilities for accelerating the development of new materials and technologies for fuel cells, hydrogen storage, and hydrogen production. Many of our staff members are recognized experts in their field.

Catalyst and materials synthesis: Synthesis of highly-active and durable low-Pt and non-PGM electrocatalysts for catalyzing the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) for fuel cells as well as the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) for electrolyzers.

Catalyst and MEA performance testing: Evaluate the activity of ORR, HOR, HER and OER catalysts using a rotating disc electrode and the performance and performance durability by integrating the catalysts into membrane-electrode assemblies and testing under a variety of conditions using a fuel cell test stand.

Characterization tools to accelerate material development and/or mitigate material degradation: Using spectroscopic and analytical tools, we can identify the physical and/or chemical properties of materials that define their performance or cause performance degradation, providing the knowledge necessary to improve the functional properties of the materials.

Evaluating component performance or optimizing system performance using process modeling and simulation: Using process modeling and simulation software tools, evaluate the performance of individual components being developed for fuel cell, hydrogen storage, or hydrogen production systems. Optimize the system design and define the operating parameters to maximize process efficiency for stationary, mobile, or distributed fuel cell systems, hydrogen storage systems, and hydrogen production processes. Eliminates lengthy and costly experimental validation of integrated systems during development.

Facilities

User Facilities:

Argonne is home to the following User Facilities operated by the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy:

Equipment and instrumentation for accelerating material development for fuel cells, hydrogen storage, and hydrogen production technologies include:

High-Throughput Experimental Laboratory: Equipped with an array of highly-automated tools for conducting multiple experiments in parallel, including:

  • Robotic systems for synthesizing catalysts and other materials over a wide range of compositional space;
  • Characterization tools such as X-ray diffractometer, particle size analyzer, and a cyclic voltammetry; and multiple reactor systems for evaluating catalyst performance, including a multi-electrode channel flow double electrode cell for combinatorial screening of catalyst activity, and acombinatorial fuel cell test system for simultaneously determining the performance of 25 fuel cell electrodes.

Catalyst and Material Synthesis: Modern synthetic laboratories equipped with multiple gloveboxes, solvothermal reactor, high pressure/temperature synthesis/processing, electrospin and nanotube synthesis capabilities for synthesizing catalysts, membranes, and polymeric materials.

Materials Engineering Research Facility: Scale-up R&D facility for taking a laboratory-developed synthesis process and modifying it to enable economical commercial-scale production.

Physical/Chemical Property Characterization: Wide range of spectroscopic tools, including X-ray absorption, X-ray scattering, infrared, Raman, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies using specialized cells for in situ and in operando characterization of catalysts and electrodes.

Photo of a scientist working with a range of spectroscopic tools in a lab.