, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 357-365
Date: 29 Aug 2009

Investigation of a Pt–Fe/C catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction in direct ethanol fuel cells

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Three cathode catalysts (60% Pt/C, 30% Pt/C and 60% Pt–Fe/C), with a particle size of about 2–3 nm, were prepared to investigate the effect of ethanol cross-over on cathode surfaces. All samples were studied in terms of structure and morphology by using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses. Their electrocatalytic behavior in terms of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) was investigated and compared using a rotating disk electrode (RDE). The tolerance of cathode catalysts in the presence of ethanol was evaluated. The Pt–Fe/C catalyst showed both higher ORR activity and tolerance to ethanol cross-over than Pt/C catalysts. Moreover, the more promising catalysts were tested in 5 cm2 DEFC single cells at 60 and 80 °C. An improvement in single cell performance was observed in the presence of the Pt–Fe catalyst, due to an enhancement in the oxygen reduction kinetics. The maximum power density was 53 mW cm−2 at 2 bar rel. cathode pressure and 80 °C.