The stacking and overlapping effect of two-dimensional (2D) graphene nanosheets in the catalyst coating layer is a big challenge for their practical application in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). These effects hinder the effective transfer of reactant gases to reach the active catalytic sites on catalysts supported on the graphene surface and the removal of the produced water, finally leading to large mass transfer resistances in practical electrodes and poor power performance. In this work, we evaluate the catalytic power performance of aligned Pt nanowires grown on reduced graphene oxide (rGO) (PtNW/rGO) as cathodes in 16-cm2
single PEMFCs. The results are compared to Pt nanoparticles deposited on rGO (Pt/rGO) and commercial Pt/C nanoparticle catalysts. It is found that the scaffolding effect from the aligned Pt nanowire structure reduces the mass transfer resistance in rGO-based catalyst electrodes, and a nearly double power performance is achieved as compared with the Pt/rGO electrodes. However, although a higher mass activity was observed for PtNW/rGO in membrane electrode assembly (MEA) measurement, the power performance obtained at a large current density region is still lower than the Pt/C in PEMFCs because of the stacking effect of rGO.
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