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Fabrication of microporous layer - free hierarchical gas diffusion electrode as a low Pt-loading PEMFC cathode by direct growth of helical carbon nanofibers
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6830-2174
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5210-2645
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics. Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA.
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2018 (English)In: RSC Advances, ISSN 2046-2069, E-ISSN 2046-2069, Vol. 8, no 72, p. 41566-41574Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Improving interfacial contact between each component in the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) can lead to a significant increase in power density and Pt utilization. In this work, the junction between the catalyst layer and gas diffusion layer (GDL) is greatly enhanced through direct attachment of helical carbon nanofibers, giving rise to a hierarchical structure within the electrical interconnections. The alternative novel GDL is produced by spraying a thin layer of Pd2C60 precursor on commercial carbon paper, followed by chemical vapor deposition growth resulting in a surface morphology of well-attached nanofibers surrounding the microfibers present in the commercial carbon paper. Subsequent solvothermal deposition of platinum nanoparticles allowed evaluation of its suitability as gas diffusion electrode in cathodic H-2/O-2 PEMFC environment. A combination of lowered charge transfer resistance and enhanced Pt-utilization is attributed to its unique wire-like appearance and its robust properties. The fabricated microporous layer - free GDL is suitable for relatively aggressive membrane electrode assembly fabrication procedures and is produced by industrially favorable techniques, rendering it capable of efficiently supporting small amounts of precious metal catalyst nanoparticles in various PEM applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018. Vol. 8, no 72, p. 41566-41574
National Category
Materials Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-155124DOI: 10.1039/c8ra07569gISI: 000453914300053OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-155124DiVA, id: diva2:1276538
Funder
The Kempe FoundationsSwedish Energy AgencySwedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-01-08 Created: 2019-01-08 Last updated: 2019-04-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Innovations in nanomaterials for proton exchange membrane fuel cells
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Innovations in nanomaterials for proton exchange membrane fuel cells
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Utveckling av nanomaterial för polymerelektrolytbränsleceller
Abstract [en]

Hydrogen technologies are rapidly receiving increased attention as it offers a renewable energy alternative to the current petroleum-based fuel infrastructure, considering that continued large-scale use of such fossil fuels will lead to disastrous impacts on our environment. The proton exchange membrane fuel cell should play a significant role in a hydrogen economy since it enables convenient and direct conversion of hydrogen into electricity, thus allowing the use of hydrogen in applications particularly suited for the transportation industry. To fully realize this, multiple engineering challenges as well as development of advanced nanomaterials must however be addressed.

In this thesis, we present discoveries of new innovative nanomaterials for proton exchange membrane fuel cells by targeting the entire membrane electrode assembly. Conceptually, we first propose new fabrication techniques of gas diffusion electrodes based on helical carbon nanofibers, where an enhanced three-phase boundary was noted in particular for hierarchical structures. The cathode catalyst, responsible for facilitating the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction, was further improved by the synthesis of platinum-based nanoparticles with an incorporated secondary metal (iron, yttrium and cobalt). Here, both solvothermal and high-temperature microwave syntheses were employed. Catalytic activities were improved compared to pure platinum and could be attributed to favorably shifted oxygen adsorption energies as a result of successful incorporation of the non-precious metal. As best exemplified by platinum-iron nanoparticles, the oxygen reduction reaction was highly sensitive to both metal composition and the type of crystal structure. Finally, a proton exchange membrane based on fluorine and sulfonic acid functionalized graphene oxide was prepared and tested in hydrogen fuel cell conditions, showing improvements such as lowered hydrogen permeation and better structural stability. Consequently, we have demonstrated that there is room for improvement of multiple components, suggesting that more powerful fuel cells can likely be anticipated in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2019. p. 88
Keywords
Fuel Cells, Membrane Electrode Assembly, Oxygen Reduction Reaction, Platinum alloy catalyst, Nanoparticles, Gas Diffusion Electrode, Proton Exchange Membrane
National Category
Energy Systems Nano Technology Other Materials Engineering Other Chemical Engineering Condensed Matter Physics
Research subject
Materials Science; Solid State Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-158501 (URN)978-91-7855-044-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-05-28, N460, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-05-07 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-05-06Bibliographically approved

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Sandström, RobinEkspong, JoakimAnnamalai, AlagappanSharifi, TivaKlechikov, AlexeyWågberg, Thomas

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