Elucidating the Role of Ionomer in the Performance of Platinum Group Metal-free Catalyst Layer via in situ Electrochemical Diagnostics

Guanxiong Wang, Luigi Osmieri, Andrew Star, Jason Pfeilsticker, Kenneth Neyerlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus Citations

Abstract

The ionomer content in platinum group metal (PGM)-free polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) cathode catalyst layer (CCL) plays an important role in the electrode gas transport properties, proton conductivity, and hence, membrane electrode assembly (MEA) performance. In this work, the ionomer content in the CCL is varied, influencing electrode microstructure by altering porosity, tortuosity, as well as ionomer distribution and coverage of the catalyst particles. A novel technique consisting of a H2 pump, combined with a Pt black sensor layer, is used to measure the bulk mass transport resistance of a series of PGM-free CCL prepared with different ionomer contents. The values for bulk electrode mass transport resistance are contrasted with electrode proton transport resistance in the cathode catalyst layer, establishing a clearly defined trade-off between two key performance limiting phenomena and identifying a need for novel PGM-free electrode fabrication strategies.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number044519
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Volume167
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Electrochemical Society ("ECS"). Published on behalf of ECS by IOP Publishing Limited.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77218

Keywords

  • catalysts
  • cathodes
  • economic and social effects
  • PEMFC
  • platinum
  • polyelectrolytes
  • proton exchange membrane fuel cells

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