Modifying the Electrocatalyst-Ionomer Interface via Sulfonated Poly(ionic liquid) Block Copolymers to Enable High-Performance Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

Yawei Li, Timothy Van Cleve, Rui Sun, Ramchandra Gawas, Guanxiong Wang, Maureen Tang, Yossef Elabd, Joshua Snyder, Kenneth Neyerlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) electrodes with a 0.07 mgPt cm-2 Pt/Vulcan electrocatalyst loading, containing only a sulfonated poly(ionic liquid) block copolymer (SPILBCP) ionomer, were fabricated and achieved a ca. 2× enhancement of kinetic performance through the suppression of Pt surface oxidation. However, SPILBCP electrodes lost over 70% of their electrochemical active area at 30% RH because of poor ionomer network connectivity. To combat these effects, electrodes made with a mix of Nafion/SPILBCP ionomers were developed. Mixed Nafion/SPILBCP electrodes resulted in a substantial improvement in MEA performance across the kinetic and mass transport-limited regions. Notably, this is the first time that specific activity values determined from an MEA were observed to be on par with prior half-cell results for Nafion-free Pt/Vulcan systems. These findings present a prospective strategy to improve the overall performance of MEAs fabricated with surface accessible electrocatalysts, providing a pathway to tailor the local electrocatalyst/ionomer interface.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1726-1731
Number of pages6
JournalACS Energy Letters
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-76372

Keywords

  • electrocatalyst
  • PILBCP
  • poly(ionic liquid) block copolymer
  • polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell

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