Chemical and Biological Engineering, Ames Laboratory
Research Focus Area
Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
Journal or Book Title
Journal of The Electrochemical Society
Nanoscale graphenes were used as cathode catalyst supports in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Surface-initiated polymerization that covalently bonds polybenzimidazole (PBI) polymer on the surface of graphene supports enables the uniform distribution of the Pt nanoparticles, as well as allows the sealing of the unterminated carbon bonds usually present on the edge of graphene from the chemical reduction of graphene oxide. The nanographene effectively shortens the length of channels and pores for O2 diffusion/water dissipation and significantly increases the primary pore volume. Further addition of p-phenyl sulfonic functional graphitic carbon particles as spacers, increases the specific volume of the secondary pores and greatly improves O2 mass transport within the catalyst layers. The developed composite cathode catalyst of Pt/PBI-nanographene (50 wt%) + SO3H-graphitic carbon black demonstrates a higher beginning of life (BOL) PEMFC performance as compared to both Pt/PBI-nanographene (50 wt%) and Pt/PBI-graphene (50 wt%) + SO3H-graphitic carbon black (GCB). Accelerated stress tests show excellent support durability compared to that of traditional Pt/Vulcan XC72 catalysts, when subjected to 10,000 cycles from 1.0 V to 1.5 V. This study suggests the promise of using PBI-nanographene + SO3H-GCB hybrid supports in fuel cells to achieve the 2020 DOE targets for transportation applications.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Xin, Le; Yang, Fan; Qiu, Yang; Uzunoglu, Aytekin; Rockward, Tommy; Borup, Rodney L.; Stanciu, Lia A.; Li, Wenzhen; and Xie, Jian, "Polybenzimidazole (PBI) Functionalized Nanographene as Highly Stable Catalyst Support for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs)" (2016). Chemical and Biological Engineering Publications. 473.