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Branko Popov

Branko N. Popov

Phone 803.777.7314
Fax 803.777.8265


2C19 Swearingen
Chemical Engineering
University of South Carolina
301 Main St.
Columbia, SC 29208

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.

  • Ph.D., University of Zagreb, Croatia (1972)
  • M.S., University of Illinois (1969)
  • B.S., University Kiril and Metodij, Skopje, Macedonia (1965)
Selected Publications
  • Huang, Sheng-Yang, Ganesan, Prabhu, Popov, Branko N, "Electrocatalytic activity and stability of niobium-doped titanium oxide supported platinum catalyst for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells", Appl. Catal. B: Environmental, 96 (2010) 224-231.
  • Liu, Gang, Li, Xuguang, Ganesan, Prabhu, Popov, Branko N, "Studies of oxygen reduction reaction active sites and stability of nitrogen-modified carbon composite catalysts for PEM fuel cells", Electrochim. Acta, 55 (2010) 2853-2858.
  • Jung, Ho-Young, Huang, Sheng-Yang, Popov, Branko N, "High-durability titanium bipolar plate modified by electrochemical deposition of platinum for unitized regenerative fuel cell (URFC)":, J Power Sources, 195 (2010) 1950-1956.
  • Li, Xuguang, Park, Sehkyu, Popov, Branko N, "Highly stable Pt and PtPd hybrid catalysts supported on a nitrogen-modified carbon composite for fuel cell application", J Power Sources, 195 (2010) 445-452.
  • B. N. Popov, X. Li and J. W. Lee, "Power source research at USC: Development of advanced electrocatalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells", Int. J. Hyd. Energy, In Press. May 2010.
  • Xuguang Li, Gang Liu, Branko N. Popov, "Activity and stability of non-precious metal catalysts for oxygen reduction in acid and alkaline electrolytes", J. Power Sources, In Press, May 2010.
  • Huang, Sheng-Yang, Ganesan Prabhu, Park, Sehkyu, Popov, Branko N, "Development of a Titanium Dioxide-Supported Platinum Catalyst with Ultrahigh Stability for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Applications", J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131 (2009) 13898-13899.
  • Subramanian, Nalini P, Li, Xuguang, Nallathambi, Vijayadurda, Kumaraguru, Swaminatha P, Colon-Mercado, Hector, Wu, Gang, Lee, Jong-Won, Popov, Branko N, "Nitrogen-modified carbon-based catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells", J Power Sources, 188 (2009) 38-44.
  • Huang, Sheng-Yang, Ganesan Prabhu, Popov, Branko N, "Development of conducting polypyrrole as corrosion-resistant catalyst support for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) application", Appl. Catal. B: Environmental, 93 (2009) 75-81.
  • Liu, Gang, Li, Xuguang, Ganesan, Prabhu, Popov, Branko N, "Development of non-precious metal oxygen-reduction catalysts for PEM fuel cells based on N-doped", Appl. Catal. B: Environmental, 93 (2009) 156-165.
Research Projects
  • NSF, "Development of Ultra-low Loading Platinum Alloy Cathode Catalysts for PEM Fuel Cells: Theoretical and Experimental Studies", $300,000, 04/01/2010-03/31/2012, PI: B. N. Popov, Funded.
  • NASA-EPSCoR, "Development of Advanced Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell", $750,000, submitted July 2007, 02/01/2008 - 01/31/2011, PI: B.N. Popov, funded.
  • SC-EPSCoR, "Development of Advanced Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell", $126,266, 07/01/2007 - 06/30/2008, PI: B.N. Popov, funded.
  • NASF, "Development of Ni Based High Wear Resistance Composite Coatings", $25,000, submitted March 2008, funded.
  • DOE, "Development of Carbon Composite Electrocatalyst for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR)", $300,000, submitted Jan 2008, funded.
  • Faraday Technology, "Development of Diagnostic Model for Hydrogen Permeation through High – Strength Alloys under Corroding Conditions", $50,000, submitted June 2008, funded.
  • NSF/I-UCRC, "Effect of Synthesizing Method of the Oxygen Electrocatalyst on the Catalyst Durability: Evaluation of the Sintering Effect", $205,923, 09/15/2002 – 12/31/2007, Co-PI: B.N. Popov, funded.
  • NSF/I-UCRC Supplement, "Novel Non Carbon Supports for Fuel Cell Applications", $150,000, 10/01/2006 – 09/30/2008, Co-PI: B.N. Popov, funded.
  • Faraday Technologies Inc., "Development of Nanostructured Catalyst for PEM Electrolyzer (Phase II)", $50,000, submitted December 2006, 09/01/2007 - 08/31/2008, PI: B.N. Popov, funded.
  • ONR/DURIP, "DURIP Proposal to Acquire Mini Plating Plant", $55,360, submitted September 2006, 04/01/2007 - 03/31/2008, PI: B.N. Popov, funded.

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