Two of the major challenges for development of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) systems, especially for automotive applications, are cost and durability of the precious metal group (PGM) based cathode electrocatalysts. We have been addressed these issues by improving the catalyst performance and durability using graphene as the supports. The dispersion of Pt nanoparticles on surface of the graphene sheets were improved, the performance and the corrosion resistance of graphene supports were enhanced. In addition, the interaction of Pt nanoparticle with the graphene support is investigated using the XPS to determine the strength of the Pt-C interaction, which will provide the mean to improve the Pt catalyst stability and durability by mitigating the Pt nanoparticle surface migration. Development of high performance and durability membrane electrode assembly (MEA) using the Pt/ Graphene catalyst will also be discussed focusing our bottom up approach—from catalyst ink to the structure of the solid catalyst layer in MEA. We have developed a methodology to study the catalyst powder and Nafion ionomer dispersion in the catalyst ink using small angle x-ray scattering (USAXS) combined with cryogenic TEM. The effect of Nafion ionomeer binder on the structure of the catalyst layer in an MEA was studied using Hg porosimetry, TEM, SEM and its fuel cell performance was characterized. The property-structure-performance relationship was established.
Audience Take Away:
- The audience can learn the basics of graphenes and their applications in electrocatlysis process. In addition, they can learn how to use the graphenes and graphene based materials in the electrocatalysis for oxygen reduction reaction in the proton exchange membrane fuel cells as well as in other catalysis processes in which a highly stable and electric conductive catalyst support is needed. The audience will also learn how to use the graphenes in the catalysis and energy conversion applications.
- Graphenes are newly developed materials, which have many unique properties such as extremely high conductivity, chemical stability and mechanical strength. Appearance of the graphenes opens a new avenue for many fields, which could lead for breakthroughs in many applications such as display, flexible electronics, batteries, fuel cells, semiconductors, composite materials, etc. Grephenes can help to solve many practical problems by providing high electric conductivity and chemical stability. For examples, graphenes can be used in batteries, fuel cells, conducting materials, super-conducting, composites to improve or alter their properties.