Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




William R. McNamara

Committee Members

John C. Poutsma

Nathan M. Kidwell

Mainak J. Patel


The Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) is a next generation energy technology with the potential to help stop global climate change and solve the energy crisis. Widespread implementation of the HFC requires production of efficient electrocatalysts for both proton reduction and oxygen reduction. Historically, catalysts for these reactions are efficient, but based on noble metals like platinum or palladium. These metals are obviously very expensive which limits possible commercial applications. This research synthesizes and tests inexpensive catalysts using earth abundant metals (like iron or cobalt) for activity. We use previously tested methodology for determining electrical activity and analysis of results, including recent Foot-of-the-Wave analysis (FOWA) to determine turnover frequencies for the selected molecules. This research provides valuable information regarding the viability of various catalysts in proton and oxygen reduction, and informs future discovery and refinement of electrocatalysts designed for these processes.

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