In collaboration with Imperial College London, novel fuel cells have been developed based on harnessing the ability of frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs) to activate hydrogen to serve as electrocatalysts for hydrogen oxidation, pioneering the concept of electrocatalytic FLPs.


  • replaces expensive Platinum group precious metals
  • decreases the voltage required by over 1V
  • not poisoned by common impurities such as CO and CO2
  • avoids the need for ultrahigh purity grades of fuel gases
  • increases the operational lifetime.


Hydrogen fuel cell technologies tend to rely upon the use of precious metal catalysts from the Platinum group. These rare elements add a substantial financial cost onto fuel cell use and therefore limit their viability. This innovation uses a new class of reactions that use FLPs to split dihydrogen to form a hydride and a proton.

Splitting hydrogen in this way allows FLPs to serve as electrocatalysts for hydrogen oxidation without the need to use expensive precious metal catalysts whilst also decreasing the voltage required for this reaction by over 1V.

Unlike conventional precious metal methods, FLP electrocatalysts are not poisoned by common impurities such as CO or CO2, avoiding the need to use ultrahigh grades of fuel gases and increasing the operational lifetime of the fuel cell.



J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 6031−6036. doi:10.1021/ja500477g
Chem. Eur. J. 2015, 21, 900 – 906. doi:10.1002/chem.201404242



Patent application US 15/116911.


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