Tailoring Electrode Microstructure via Ink Content to Enable Improved Rated Power Performance for Platinum Cobalt/High Surface Area Carbon Based Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

Timothy Van Cleve, Guanxiong Wang, Mason Mooney, C. Firat Cetinbas, Nancy Kariuki, Jaehyung Park, Ahmed Farghaly, Deborah Myers, Kenneth Neyerlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Improvements in polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) electrode performance have primarily focused on catalyst and ionomer developments, marginalizing the importance of catalyst ink formulation. Herein, the effect of ink formulation is examined across a series of cathodes comprised of PtCo supported on high surface area carbon (PtCo/ HSC) and Nafion ionomer using an array of in situ electrochemical and ex situ characterization techniques. In contrast to prior work on Pt/Vu systems, ink water content had little effect on the electrochemically determined ionomer coverage for the PtCo/HSC electrocatalyst examined here. Characterization using nano-scale resolution X-ray computed tomography (nano-CT) demonstrated that water-rich ink formulations lead to a reduction in aggregate size (ionomer + PtCo/HSC), improving local O2 transport. This understanding, combined with the use of a commercially-available electrocatalyst was used to produced state-of-the-art membrane electrode assemblies with Pt loadings of 0.03/0.08 mgPt/cm2 on the anode and cathode respectively, having; i) > 1 A/mgPt (0.9 ViR-free, 150 kPa, 80 °C, 100% RH, H2/O2), ii) 320 mA/cm2 at 0.8 V, 150 kPa, 80 °C, 100% RH, H2/Air), and iii) > 1 W/cm2elec at rated power (0.67 V, 250 kPa, 94 °C, 65% RH, H2/Air) or < 0.11 gPt/kWrated.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number228889
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume482
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-76984

Keywords

  • Ink solvent effects
  • Ionomer-catalyst interface
  • Nano-CT
  • O transport
  • Polymer electrolyte fuel cells
  • USAXS

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