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Open AccessArticle

Importance of Fuel Cell Tests for Stability Assessment—Suitability of Titanium Diboride as an Alternative Support Material

1
Physikalische und Theoretische Chemie, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 14195, Germany
2
Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen 5232, Switzerland
3
Institute for Materials Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt 64289, Germany
4
ESK Ceramics GmbH und Co. KG, Kempten 87437, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2014, 7(6), 3642-3652; https://doi.org/10.3390/en7063642
Received: 10 February 2014 / Revised: 26 May 2014 / Accepted: 29 May 2014 / Published: 11 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells)
Carbon corrosion is a severe issue limiting the long-term stability of carbon-supported catalysts, in particular in the highly dynamic conditions of automotive applications. (Doped) oxides have been discussed as suitable alternatives to replace carbon, but often suffer from poor electron conductivity. That is why non-oxide ceramics, such as tungsten carbide and titanium nitride, have been discussed recently. Titanium diboride has also been proposed, due to its promising activity and stability in an aqueous electrochemical cell. In this work, Pt nanoparticles were deposited onto μm-sized TiB2 particles with improved grain size, manufactured into porous gas diffusion electrodes and tested in a realistic polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell environment. In contrast to the model studies in an aqueous electrochemical cell, in the presence of oxygen and high potentials at the cathode side of a real fuel cell, TiB2 becomes rapidly oxidized as indicated by intensely colored regions in the membrane-electrode assembly (MEA). Moreover, already the electrode manufacturing process led to the formation of titanium oxides, as shown by X-ray diffraction measurements. This demonstrates that Cyclic Voltammetry (CV) measurements in an aqueous electrochemical cell are not sufficient to prove stability of novel materials for fuel cell applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: CV; fuel cell tests; PEMFC; alternative supports; non-oxide ceramics; coloring; durability; TiO2; TiB2 CV; fuel cell tests; PEMFC; alternative supports; non-oxide ceramics; coloring; durability; TiO2; TiB2
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Roth, C.; Bleith, P.; Schwöbel, C.A.; Kaserer, S.; Eichler, J. Importance of Fuel Cell Tests for Stability Assessment—Suitability of Titanium Diboride as an Alternative Support Material. Energies 2014, 7, 3642-3652.

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