Special Issue "Nanostructured Carbon Materials for Fuel Cells"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanostructured Catalysts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 2421

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ermete Antolini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Scuola di Scienza dei Materiali, Via 25 aprile 22, 16016 Cogoleto, Genova, Italy
Interests: carbon nanotubes; oxygen reduction reaction; reduced graphene oxide;
Dr. Sabrina Campagna Zignani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Italian National Research Council (CNR), Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies "Nicola Giordano" (ITAE), Via Salita S. Lucia sopra Contesse 5, 98126 Messina, Italy
Interests: electrocatalysts; protonic conductor; anionic conductor; critical raw material-free; platinum group material-free; renewable; energy conversion; energy storage; pollution abatement
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the activity of a catalyst increases as the reaction surface area of the catalyst increases, the size of metal particles used as anode and cathode catalysts in low-temperature fuel cells should be reduced to increase the active surface. Thus, the catalysts are supported on a high surface area substrate. The structure and proper dispersal of these metal particles make low loading catalysts feasible for fuel cell operation. The main requirements of suitable fuel cell catalyst support are (i) a high surface area, to obtain high metal dispersion, (ii) suitable porosity, to boost gas flow, (iii) high electrical conductivity, and (iv) high stability under fuel cell operational conditions. A conventional example of such support is an amorphous microporous carbon powder, such as carbon black. It has been reported that nanostructured carbon materials with both a high surface area and good crystallinity can not only provide a high dispersion of Pt nanoparticles but also facilitate electron transfer, resulting in a suitable fuel cell performance. On this basis, novel nonconventional nanocarbon materials have attracted much interest as electrocatalyst support because of their good electrical and mechanical properties and their versatility in pore size and pore distribution tailoring. These materials present a different morphology than carbon blacks both at the nanoscopic level in terms of their pore texture (for example mesopore carbon) and at the macroscopic level in terms of their form (for example, microsphere). Examples of these nanostructured materials are graphene, carbon nanotubes, ordered mesoporous carbons, carbon aerogels, carbon nanohorns, carbon nanocoils, and carbon nanofibers.

Moreover, the high cost of platinum and its kinetic limitations for oxygen reduction pushed toward considerable research efforts aiming to develop more active and less expensive low-temperature fuel cell electrocatalysts than pure Pt, such as Pt–Co and Pt–Ni alloys. One of the major problems of these alloy catalysts is their stability in the acid environment. Pt and nonprecious metal dissolution and Pt sintering occurs during low-temperature fuel cell operation. Indeed, pure Pt presented higher electrochemical stability than the binary catalyst. A main problem of direct alcohol fuel cells is the alcohol crossover through the polymer electrolyte, affecting the conversion of the chemical energy of the fuel to electrical energy: indeed, a direct reaction between alcohol and oxygen takes place on Pt sites. The resulting mixed potential decreases the cell voltage, forms more water, and increases the required oxygen stoichiometric ratio. A way to overcome this problem is the development of electrocatalysts with a higher alcohol tolerance than Pt. Thus, the search on fuel cell cathode materials was focused on nonplatinum catalysts. Among them, heteroatom-doped nanostructured carbon materials, due to their low cost, appreciable catalytic activity, and high fuel poisoning tolerance, have aroused growing interest. These doped nanostructured carbon materials showed a good activity for oxygen reduction, particularly in alkaline media, fuel selectivity (alcohol tolerance), and electrochemical stability.

The aim of this Special Issue is to cover promising recent research and novel trends in the use of nanostructured carbons in low-temperature fuel cells either as catalysts or catalyst supports. Contributions from all areas of homogeneous and supported catalysis, based on experimental results and/or molecular modeling, would be of great interest.

Prof. Dr. Ermete Antolini
Dr. Sabrina Campagna Zignani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 2200 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
  • Supported catalysts
  • Nonprecious catalysts
  • Nanostructured carbons
  • Heterogeneous catalysis

Published Papers (2 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
Effects of Supports BET Surface Areas on Membrane Electrode Assembly Performance at High Current Loads
Catalysts 2021, 11(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11020195 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
In this work, we investigated the influence of catalyst supports, particularly Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller (BET) surface area of the catalyst support materials, on membrane electrode assembly (MEA) performance. Keeping the anode catalyst layer (CL), membrane, Pt loading, and operating condition unchanged, we [...] Read more.
In this work, we investigated the influence of catalyst supports, particularly Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller (BET) surface area of the catalyst support materials, on membrane electrode assembly (MEA) performance. Keeping the anode catalyst layer (CL), membrane, Pt loading, and operating condition unchanged, we prepared cathode CLs using catalysts of identical Pt content (30 wt% Pt) which were supported on carbon black materials having different BET surface areas. We observed optimum cell voltage at high current load when using cathode catalyst layers prepared from catalysts supported on carbons having medium-BET surface area. High-BET surface area supports, although beneficial at low current density as well as low-BET surface area supports, led to increased voltage losses at high current load due to mass transport limitations which can be explained by the electrochemically active surface area available and water management in the catalyst layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Carbon Materials for Fuel Cells)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
CO Tolerance and Stability of Graphene and N-Doped Graphene Supported Pt Anode Electrocatalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells
Catalysts 2020, 10(6), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10060597 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
Pt electrocatalysts supported on pristine graphene nanosheets (GNS) and nitrogen-doped graphene nanoplatelets (N-GNP) were prepared through the ethylene glycol process, and a comparison of their CO tolerance and stability as anode materials in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) with those of the [...] Read more.
Pt electrocatalysts supported on pristine graphene nanosheets (GNS) and nitrogen-doped graphene nanoplatelets (N-GNP) were prepared through the ethylene glycol process, and a comparison of their CO tolerance and stability as anode materials in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) with those of the conventional carbon (C)-supported Pt was made. Repetitive potential cycling in a half cell showed that Pt/GNS catalysts have the highest stability, in terms of the highest sintering resistance (lowest particle growth) and the lowest electrochemically active surface area loss. By tests in PEMFCs, the Pt/N-GNP catalyst showed the highest CO tolerance, while the poisoning resistance of Pt/GNS was lower than that of Pt/C. The higher CO tolerance of Pt/N-GNP than that of Pt/GNS was ascribed to the presence of a defect in graphene, generated by N-doping, decreasing CO adsorption energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Carbon Materials for Fuel Cells)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop