Research Papers

Nanomaterials-Based PEM Electrodes by Combining Chemical and Physical Depositions

[+] Author and Article Information
R. Giorgi

 ENEA Centro Ricerche Casaccia, Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italyrossella.giorgi@enea.it

L. Giorgi, S. Gagliardi, E. Salernitano, Th. Dikonimos, N. Lisi, E. Serra

 ENEA Centro Ricerche Casaccia, Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italy

M. Alvisi, D. Valerini, M. F. De Riccardis

 ENEA Centro Ricerche Brindisi, S. S. Appia, Km 7+300, 72100 Brindisi, Italy

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(4), 041004 (Mar 28, 2011) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003629 History: Received March 15, 2010; Revised December 21, 2010; Published March 28, 2011; Online March 28, 2011

The real market penetration of polymer electrolyte fuel cells is hindered by the high cost of this technology mainly due to the expensive platinum catalyst. Two approaches are followed to reduce the cost: one way is to increase the Pt utilization efficiency reducing at the same time the total load and the other way is to increase the catalytic activity of the catalyst/support assembly. In this work, the increase of utilization efficiency is addressed by optimizing the catalyst distribution on the uppermost layer of the electrode via electrodeposition and sputter deposition, while the improvement of the catalyst activity is pursued by nanostructuring the catalysts and the carbon-based supports. A very low Pt loading (0.006mgcm2) was obtained by sputter deposition on electrodes that exhibited a mass specific activity for methanol oxidation reaction better than a commercial product. Carbon nanofibers used as catalyst support of electrodeposited platinum nanoparticles resulted in improved mass specific activity and long term stability compared to conventional carbon-based supports. Finally, PtAu alloys developed by sputter deposition were found more efficient than commercial PtRu catalyst for the methanol oxidation reaction. In conclusion, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell electrode based on nanomaterials, developed by combining physical and chemical deposition processes, showed outstanding electrochemical performance.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

SEM image of the surface of a GDL catalyzed with Pt by (a) electrodeposition and (b) sputtering

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Figure 2

SEM image of (a) tubular and (b) platelet-type carbon nanofibers

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Figure 3

SEM image of the Pt catalyzed platelet CNFs

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Figure 4

Long term MSA of platelet and tubular CNFs catalyzed by electrodeposited Pt, compared with a Vulcan XC-72 carbon substrate catalyzed at the same conditions

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Figure 5

Cyclic voltammetry plots in 1MH2SO4 of (a) Pt/C and (b) Pt81Au19/C

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Figure 6

Long term platinum MSA for GDL catalyzed by Pt, Au, PtAu, and PtRu




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