Characterization of a Sulfonated Poly(Ionic Liquid) Block Copolymer as an Ionomer for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells using Rotating Disk Electrode

Ramchandra Gawas, Rui Sun, Yawei Li, Kenneth Neyerlin, Yossef Elabd, Maureen Tang, Joshua Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Ionic liquid (IL) additives to both traditional and advanced oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts have yielded remarkable improvements in catalyst performance and durability. However, incorporating ILs or IL-modified catalysts into the electrodes of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) membrane electrode assembly (MEA) has proven to be challenging. Sulfonated poly(ionic liquid) block copolymers (S-PILBCP) present an opportunity to incorporate IL functionality directly into the ionomer, orthogonal to protonic conductivity. Here, we use a rotating disc electrode (RDE) to characterize the interface between a S-PILBCP and Pt catalyst in comparison to Nafion. Catalyst thin films prepared with S-PILBCP show an 80% improvement in the ORR activity over those containing Nafion. Thin films of S-PILBCP also show a significantly reduced degree of poisoning sulfonate adsorption on a Pt(111) surface in comparison to Nafion. These half-cell results provide useful insights that help to highlight the source of the impact of the S-PILBCP on PEMFC MEA performance.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number124511
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Volume168
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Electrochemical Society ("ECS"). Published on behalf of ECS by IOP Publishing Limited.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-82850

Keywords

  • additives
  • block copolymers
  • electrocatalysts
  • electrodes
  • electrolytic reduction
  • ionic liquids
  • ionomers
  • polyelectrolytes
  • rotating disks
  • thin films

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