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Branko N. Popov

Carolina Distinguished Professor

Director, Center for Electrochemical Engineering

Currently, Dr. Popov is a Carolina Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Electrochemical Engineering at USC. His research group is comprised of three postdoctoral fellows, two PhD students, and four BS students. His research interest in the area of power sources focuses on new materials for cathodes and anodes for primary and secondary batteries, capacitors and fuel cells and development of performance models for capacitors, fuel cells and to predict capacity fade for lithium ion batteries. Dr. Popov has developed a novel process for the preparation of thin film membrane electrode assemblies with novel nanostructured Pt-alloy catalysts with Co, Ni and Cr. This effort resulted in the development of novel method based on pulse electro-deposition technique for preparation of membrane electrode assemblies.

Office of Naval Research and National Association for Surface Finishing have funded his research group in the last ten years to develop alternative coatings to protect hard alloys from hydrogen embrittlement and to substitute cadmium plating. The research in the area of electrodeposition and corrosion engineering includes the work on underpotential deposition of metals, and deposition of nanostructured multi-layers of non anomalous Fe-Ni, Zn-Ni-P and Zn-Ni-SiO2 ternary alloys and composites.

His research group is supported by numerous government agencies such as: Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research, US Army Corps of Engineers, Reconnaissance Office (NRO), NASA, Sandia National Laboratory, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation and private industries such as ELISHA, St. Jude Medical, Fuji Film Corporation and Faraday Technologies. In 2003, he was awarded with a major award from DOE to develop novel non precious metal catalyst for fuel cells. The goal of the proposed work is to construct and test membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) with different non-precious metallic nanoclusters and to demonstrate the potential to perform at least as good as the conventional Pt catalysts currently in use in MEAs.

Currently, Dr. Popov has received funding from DOE and NSF for the development of ultra-low loading platinum catalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. He has also received funding from NASA for the development of advanced regenerative fuel cells.

Dr. Popov was recognized as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in the Nation 2002 – 2014. Links available at Higly Cited and CEC news

  • Ph.D., University of Zagreb, Croatia (1972)
  • M.S., University of Illinois (1969)
  • B.S., University Kiril and Metodij, Skopje, Macedonia (1965)
Selected Publications
  • Corrosion Engineering: Principles and Solved Problems By Branko N. Popov, available at Elsevier Store
  • T. Kim, T. Xie, W.S. Jung, F. Gadala-Maria, P. Ganesan, B.N. Popov, "Development of Catalytically Active and Highly Stable Catalyst Supports for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells," J. Power Sources, 273, (2015) 761-774.
  • Ákos Kriston, Tianyuan Xie and Branko N. Popov, "Impact of Ultra-low Platinum loading on Mass Activity and Mass Transport in H2-Oxygen and H2-Air PEM Fuel Cells", Electrochim. Acta, 121 (2014) 116-127.
  • T. Xie, W.S. Jung, T. Kim, P. Ganesan, B.N. Popov, "Development of Highly Active and Durable Hybrid Cathode Catalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells," J. Electrochem. Soc., 161 (2014) F1489-F1501.
  • Ákos Kriston, Tianyuan Xie, David Gamliel, Prabhu Ganesan, Branko N. Popov, "Effect of Ultra-Low Pt Loading on Mass Activity of PEM Fuel Cells" J. Power Sources, 243 (2013) 958-963.
  • Sheng-Yang Huang, Prabhu Ganesan, and Branko N. Popov, "Electrocatalytic Activity and Stability of Titania Supported Platinum-Palladium Catalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell" ACS Catalysis, 2 (2012) 825-831.
Research Projects
  • NSF, "Development of Highly Stable and Selective Hybrid Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Production: Catalyst Design and Performance Evaluation" 05/01/2015-04/30/2018, $323,592, PI: B.N. Popov, Pending.
  • DOE, "Development of Ultra-low Platinum Alloy Cathode Catalyst for PEM Fuel Cells," $4,750,000, 06/01/2010-12/31/2015, PI: B. N. Popov, Funded.
  • DOE, "Development of Highly Active and Stable Magnetically Induced Graphitic (Graphene) Layer Catalytic sites for Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR)" 01-01-2015-12/31/2016, $1,000,000, PI: B. N. Popov, Pending.
  • DOE-SBIR, "Advanced Bifunctional Non-PGM Catalysts for Alkaline Membrane Fuel Cells," 01/01/2015-09/30/2015, $40,000, PI: B.N. Popov, Pending.

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