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Research Paper

1-Hexanol Based Catalyst Inks for Catalyst Layer Preparation for a DMFC

[+] Author and Article Information
D. Stolten

Institute of Energy and Climate Research,
Fuel Cells (IEK-3)
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Jülich 52425, Germany

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 17, 2012; final manuscript received July 29, 2013; published online October 10, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Umberto Desideri.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 10(6), 061008 (Oct 10, 2013) (6 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1065; doi: 10.1115/1.4025519 History: Received July 17, 2012; Revised July 29, 2013

The catalyst ink preparation for a catalyst layer production by screen printing for a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) is evaluated. Among a large variety of solvents 1-hexanol was chosen for the preparation due to its properties fitting the requirements for the ink preparation. 1-hexanol based catalyst inks lead to thicker catalyst layers compared to isopropyl-/propylalcohol based catalyst inks, currently used in-house. Despite showing different layer properties, MEAs based on 1-hexanol or isopropyl-/propylalcohol based catalyst layers show comparable electrochemical performances. When using 1-hexanol based catalyst inks the dispersion procedure shows great influence on the outcoming catalyst layer. Long dispersion periods and a medium power output of ultrasonication of the catalyst dispersion are beneficial and lead to good coating qualities of the catalyst layer and therefore to high electrochemical performances.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Change of viscosity of catalyst inks based on different solvents. Solid fraction (0 s): βIso-/Propylalcohol = 0.169 g/ml; β1-hexanol = 0.130 g/ml.

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Fig. 2

MS: Amount of solvents in catalyst layer based on 1-hexanol after 3 h of drying at 60 °C

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Fig. 3

MS: Amount of solvents in catalyst layer based on 1-hexanol after being washed with H2O for 3 h

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Fig. 4

Comparison of layer thickness and catalyst loading of catalyst layers based on different solvents

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Fig. 5

Comparison of layer thickness and catalyst loading of catalyst layers based on different solvents (SEM picture)

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Fig. 6

High definition SEM picture of catalyst layers based on different solvents

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Fig. 7

Electrochemical characterization of MEAs based on different solvents. Operating parameters: 1 M aq. MeOH/ air, cathodic flow rate: 36.9 ml/(min cm2), anodic flow rate: 0.22 ml/(min cm2), T = 70 °C, ambient pressure.

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Fig. 8

Influence of power output and dispersion time on particle size and viscosity on 1-hexanol based catalyst inks

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Fig. 9

Influence of power output and dispersion time on surface structure of 1-hexanol based catalyst layer

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Fig. 10

Electrochemical behavior of MEAs depending on power ouput of ultrasonication. MEA characteristics: anode catalyst loading: 1.6–2.1 mg/cm2, cathode catalyst loading: 2.5 mg/cm2. Operating parameters: 1 M aq. MeOH/air, cathodic flow rate: 36.9 ml/(min cm2), anodic flow rate: 0.22 ml/(min cm2), T = 70 °C, ambient pressure.

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Fig. 11

Electrochemical behavior of MEAs depending on duration of ultrasonication. MEA characteristics: anode catalyst loading: 1.6–2.1 mg/cm2, cathode catalyst loading: 2.5 mg/cm2. Operating parameters: 1 M aq. MeOH/air, cathodic flow rate: 36.9 ml/(min cm2), anodic flow rate: 0.22 ml/(min cm2), T = 70 °C, ambient pressure.

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