Finding inexpensive alternatives to platinum group metals (PGMs) is essential for reducing the cost of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Numerous materials have been investigated as potential replacements of Pt, of which the transition metal and nitrogen-doped carbon composites (TM/Nx
/C) prepared from iron doped zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) are among the most active ones in catalyzing the oxygen reduction reaction based on recent studies. In this report, we demonstrate that the catalytic activity of ZIF-based TM/Nx
/C composites can be substantially improved through optimization of synthesis and post-treatment processing conditions. Ultimately, oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalytic activity must be demonstrated in membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs) of fuel cells. The process of preparing MEAs using ZIF-based non-PGM electrocatalysts involves many additional factors which may influence the overall catalytic activity at the fuel cell level. Evaluation of parameters such as catalyst loading and perfluorosulfonic acid ionomer to catalyst ratio were optimized. Our overall efforts to optimize both the catalyst and MEA construction process have yielded impressive ORR activity when tested in a fuel cell system.
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