(510c) Ultra-Low PGM and PGM-Free High-Performance Electrodes for Aemfcs | AIChE

(510c) Ultra-Low PGM and PGM-Free High-Performance Electrodes for Aemfcs


Mustain, W. - Presenter, University of South Carolina
Peng, X., University of Connecticut
Omasta, T., University of Connecticut
Magliocca, E., UNIV. OF S. CAROLINA
Ultra-Low PGM and PGM-free High-Performance Electrodes for AEMFCs

Xiong Peng1, Travis J. Omasta1,2, Emanuele Magliocca1, and William E. Mustain1

  1. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, USA.
  2. Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA

Anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs) have received significant attention in recent years as a potentially lower cost electrochemical energy conversion device compared to proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) [1]. Several major advancements have been demonstrated in the past few years, which has now made it possible for AEMFCs to achieve peak power densities around 2 W cm-2 [2–4] and stability over 100’s[5] of ours of operation [4,6]. Though these are crucial steps towards the realization of commercially viable AEMFCs, there are more hurdles to overcome, specifically to bring down the cost below PEMFCs. A critical aspect of doing so is realizing AEMFCs with low/no precious metal catalysts without sacrificing performance or stability.

In this study, we take 3 approaches. First, we systematically optimize the composition of very low loading PGM-containing catalyst layers (~0.1 mgPGM/cm2) in order to optimize water management and avoid flooding events at high currents. These catalyst layers are analyzed through their electrochemical surface area, hydroxide transport resistance, as well as kinetic and mass transport reaction overpotentials. Operando and ex situ cell images are taken using 2D & 3D neutron imaging of the water content and X-ray tomography. Second, we created Pt-free (not PGM-free) catalyst layers in order to show that it is possible to achieve > 1 W cm-2 performance without any Pt in the cell – a first. Third, we created new Co@C cathode catalysts and are able to demonstrate that extremely low cost electrodes are possible that are able to support cell peak power densities > 1 W cm-2.


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