The polymer electrolyte fuel cells are systems that generate electricity from environmentally friendly way as they reject only water.
Operation is simple: hydrogen is oxidized at the anode side, and oxygen is reduced on the cathode side and producing water. The characteristics of these make interesting batteries to power an electric car or power a house, because the performance of these batteries is higher than the efficiency of an internal combustion engine.
However, this technology is still expensive compared to current electricity generation technologies. One of the elements that makes this expensive technology is the catalyst used: platinum is rare and expensive. The research done during my PhD was intended to replace the platinum at the cathode by non-noble transition metals (iron, cobalt, manganese, chromium).
Specifically, we focused on determining the structure of the catalytic site for the reduction of oxygen from iron-based catalysts.