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Catalysts 2015, 5(3), 1046-1067; doi:10.3390/catal5031046

Novel Mesoporous Carbon Supports for PEMFC Catalysts

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada
2
Ballard Power Systems, 9000 Glenlyon Parkway, Burnaby, BC V5J 5J8, Canada
3
Microscopy and Imaging Facility, University of Calgary, Health Sciences Centre B159, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Minhua Shao
Received: 15 May 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrocatalysis in Fuel Cells)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [12370 KB, uploaded 29 June 2015]   |  

Abstract

Over the past decade; a significant amount of research has been performed on novel carbon supports for use in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Specifically, carbon nanotubes, ordered mesoporous carbon, and colloid imprinted carbons have shown great promise for improving the activity and/or stability of Pt-based nanoparticle catalysts. In this work, a brief overview of these materials is given, followed by an in-depth discussion of our recent work highlighting the importance of carbon wall thickness when designing novel carbon supports for PEMFC applications. Four colloid imprinted carbons (CICs) were synthesized using a silica colloid imprinting method, with the resulting CICs having pores of 15 (CIC-15), 26 (CIC-26), 50 (CIC-50) and 80 (CIC-80) nm. These four CICs were loaded with 10 wt. % Pt and then evaluated as oxygen reduction (ORR) catalysts for use in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. To gain insight into the poorer performance of Pt/CIC-26 vs. the other three Pt/CICs, TEM tomography was performed, indicating that CIC-26 had much thinner walls (0–3 nm) than the other CICs and resulting in a higher resistance (leading to distributed potentials) through the catalyst layer during operation. This explanation for the poorer performance of Pt/CIC-26 was supported by theoretical calculations, suggesting that the internal wall thickness of these nanoporous CICs is critical to the future design of porous carbon supports. View Full-Text
Keywords: oxygen reduction reaction; proton exchange membrane fuel cells; mesoporous carbon; transmission electron tomography; Pt/C catalysts; Tafel slopes oxygen reduction reaction; proton exchange membrane fuel cells; mesoporous carbon; transmission electron tomography; Pt/C catalysts; Tafel slopes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Banham, D.; Feng, F.; Fürstenhaupt, T.; Pei, K.; Ye, S.; Birss, V. Novel Mesoporous Carbon Supports for PEMFC Catalysts. Catalysts 2015, 5, 1046-1067.

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