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RESEARCH PAPERS

Aerogel-Based PEMFC Catalysts Operating at Room Temperature

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Smirnova

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center,  UCONN, 44 Weaver Road, Storrs, CT 06269-5233alevtina@engr.uconn.edu

X. Dong, H. Hara

 Aerogel Composite, LLC c∕o ICA, Inc., 102-R Filley Street, Unit H, Bloomfield CT 06002-1853

N. Sammes

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  UCONN, 44 Weaver Road, Storrs, CT 06269-5233

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(4), 477-481 (May 04, 2006) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2349532 History: Received December 11, 2005; Revised May 04, 2006

A carbon-aerogel-supported Pt catalyst with 22nm pore size distribution and low Pt loading (0.1mgcm2) has been tested in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The performance of the PEMFC and kinetic parameters of the catalyst at room temperature are discussed in terms of microstructure of the support and sulfonated tetrafluoroethylene (Nafion) distribution. The PEMFCs demonstrated power densities up to 0.5mWcm2 at 0.6V in air∕hydrogen and 2atm backpressure on both cathode and anode. Continuous cycling with upper potential sweep limits of 1.0 and 1.2V leads to degradation effects that result in decreasing of the electrochemical surface area (ESA) of the catalyst. The comparison of an ESA decrease for a 1.0 and 1.2V sweep limit after 1000cycles indicated that the higher degradation effects are due to the oxidation of carbon support.

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Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Compensated cell voltage versus (a) current density and (b) logarithm of current density for the cell at 20°C cell temperature and different backpressure in H2∕air; H2∕O2. Anode flow rate (AFR)=288cc∕min; cathode flow rate (CFR)=866cc∕min. Temperature of anode and cathode humidifiers was maintained at room temperature.

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Figure 2

(a) PEMFC Performance at 22°C in H2 ∕air; 1atm backpressure on the anode and 2atm backpressure on the cathode side after 300hr of continuous testing and (b) flow rate values, temperature changes, and corresponding membrane resistances

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Figure 3

Cell performances at room temperature and different values of backpressure on the anode and cathode side

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Figure 4

Power density versus (a) current density and (b) cell voltage for the cell with 0.1mg∕cm2 of carbon-supported Pt catalyst in cathode catalyst layer

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Figure 5

Performance of the cell after 300hr of operation at targeted values of current density, viz. 0.2A∕cm2 and 1.5A∕cm2 in H2∕air at room temperature, constant flow rate, and 2bar backpressure

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Figure 6

The current density versus applied potential after cycling from 0.6to1.0V at 30°C demonstrating the catalyst degradation effects due to the oxidation of Pt in an aerogel-supported Pt catalyst

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Figure 7

Current density versus applied potential after cycling from 0.6to1.2V at 30°C demonstrating the catalyst degradation effects due to the oxidation of carbon in an aerogel-supported Pt catalyst

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