Novel electrocatalyst supports for polymer electrolyte fuel cells

Goh, Jonathan (2014). Novel electrocatalyst supports for polymer electrolyte fuel cells. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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Pre-fabricated novel electrocatalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (PEFCs) – Platinum supported on partially reduced graphene oxide (Pt/GO) and Platinum nanoparticles prepared with surfactant NP-9 supported on carbon (Pt/C NP-9) – were electrochemically characterised ex situ and evaluated against commercial Pt/C electrocatalysts obtained from Tanaka Kikinzokou TEC 10E50E (TKK Pt/C). It was observed that the TKK Pt/C outperformed the novel electrocatalysts in terms of ECSA (TKK = 84.69 m2/g; Pt/C NP-9 = 8.39 m2/g; Pt/GO = 22.10 m2/g), besides demonstrating much better stability and consistency. However, the Pt/C NP-9 showed the best durability after accelerated degradation testing up to 20400 cycles. This result was attributed to the shielding effect of surfactant molecules on the surface of Pt clusters. The Pt/C NP-9 catalyst also showed the highest specific activity at 0.9 V (807.67 μA/cm2) and 0.95 V (168.37 μA/cm2), while the Pt/GO had the lowest specific activity and mass activity values. It is hypothesised that the Pt/GO catalyst performed poorly due to its structural characteristics i.e. graphene nanosheets obstruct mass transport of reactant gases to the Pt active sites.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology


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