Special Issue "Electrocatalysts for Acidic and Alkaline Fuel Cells"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Saverio Latorrata
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Guest Editor
Materials for Energy and Environment Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering "Giulio Natta", Politecnico di Milano, piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: carbon-based porous materials; coating technology; electrochemical characterization; materials for PEM fuel cells; materials characterization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Giovanni Dotelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering "Giulio Natta", Politecnico di Milano, I-20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: LCA; materials science; environmental sustainability
Prof. Dr. Cinzia Cristiani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Politecnico of Milano, Dpt. CMIC - Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Enginneering "G. Natta", Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20132 Milan, Italy
Interests: circular economy; materials for environmental and energy applications
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Paola Gallo Stampino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Politecnico di Milano, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering "Giulio Natta"
Interests: energy; environment; materials durability; PEM fuel cells

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

in the current energetic scenario, both acidic and alkaline fuel cells represent interesting alternative energy generators in view of their high conversion efficiency and maximum achievable output power, low working temperature, and almost null environmental impacts. However, a wide commercial diffusion of these devices is still hindered by issues related to costs, electrocatalyst activity, and material lifetime.

Among others, catalysts, being a paramount component, play a crucial role in the optimal operation of fuel cells, and their optimization deserves particular attention and effort.

Moreover, a massive use of fuel cells both for automotive and stationary applications entails finding an alternative material to platinum-based catalysts in order to reduce overall costs.

Additionally, kinetics is still an open key point. Indeed, the performance of these devices is mainly limited by the oxygen reduction reaction because of its sluggish kinetics resulting in a decrease of cell efficiency in both acidic and in alkaline environments.

This Special Issue of Applied Sciences, “Electrocatalysts for Acidic and Alkaline Fuel Cells”, is intended for a wide and interdisciplinary audience, and aims at covering, but is not limited to, recent advances in:

  • durability enhancement of electrocatalysts;
  • assessment of degradation mechanisms;
  • development of Pt-free active phases;
  • modeling of kinetic behavior of electrocatalysts;
  • development of innovative catalytic supports;
  • innovative preparation techniques and processing;
  • in-operando characterization techniques.

Dr. Saverio Latorrata
Prof. Giovanni Dotelli
Prof. Cinzia Cristiani
Prof. Paola Gallo Stampino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • low-temperature fuel cells
  • catalytic layer coatings
  • oxygen reduction reaction
  • degradation and durability
  • polarization curves
  • electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Pt-free catalysts
  • accelerated stress tests

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Article
The Origins of the High Performance of Pd Catalysts Supported on Carbon Black-Embedded Carbon Nanofiber for Formic Acid Oxidation
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(24), 5542; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9245542 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 647
Abstract
In this study, we developed a carbon black (CB)-embedded carbon nanofiber (CNF) as a Pd support, which showed a high level of formic acid oxidation reaction (FAOR) activity. For the support preparation, heat treatment involving calcination at 1000 °C in a nitrogen atmosphere [...] Read more.
In this study, we developed a carbon black (CB)-embedded carbon nanofiber (CNF) as a Pd support, which showed a high level of formic acid oxidation reaction (FAOR) activity. For the support preparation, heat treatment involving calcination at 1000 °C in a nitrogen atmosphere (carbonization) followed by calcination at 850 °C in water vapor (steam activation) was conducted to form a CB, which contained carbon nanofibers made from a polyacrolynitrile (PAN) fiber prepared by electrospinning. This catalyst showed a high level of FAOR activity. In this situation, the CB was also heat-treated, therefore, it was unclear whether the origin of the high FAOR activity of the CB-embedded CNF was caused by the CNF itself or the heat treatment of the CB. In order to establish the cause of the high FAOR activity of the CB-embedded CNF, the CBs underwent several heat treatments; i.e., stabilization, carbonization, and steam activation. Two types of carbon black with different pore structures, i.e., Ketjen black and Vulcan XC-72, were used to investigate the FAOR activity. The appropriate heat treatment of the CB promotes the improved FAOR activity; however, excessive heat treatment caused a deterioration in the FAOR activity, especially for Ketjen due to the presence of numerous micropores. However, by embedding the CB into the CNF, the FAOR activity improved, especially in the case of Ketjen, even though the embedded CB underwent several heat treatments. The optimum ratio of CB/PAN in the CB-embedded CNF was also investigated. The highest FAOR activity was observed at 0.25 CB/PAN for both the Vulcan and Ketjen. The electronic state of Pd3d in which the binding energy of the metallic Pd shifted to a lower binding energy suggested that the metal–support interaction is strong at the CB/PAN ratio of 0.25. On the basis of these results, it was found that heat treatment of the CB by embedding it in the CNF is a promising way to achieve a metal–support interaction without destroying its structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrocatalysts for Acidic and Alkaline Fuel Cells)
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