Activity and Durability of Platinum-Based Electrocatalysts with Tin Oxide–Coated Carbon Aerogel Materials as Catalyst Supports

  • Fabien Labbé
  • Tristan Asset
  • Marian Chatenet
  • Yasser Ahmad
  • Katia Guérin
  • Rudolf Metkemeijer
  • Sandrine Berthon-FabryEmail author
Original Research


Platinum nanoparticles were deposited onto carbon aerogel with three different tin coatings. The coatings were synthesized at pH = 0.7 or 11.5 and with various masses of SnCl2.H2O precursor: 1, 2, and 10 g. The nanoparticles dispersion was found dependent on the morphological properties of the support, i.e., its specific surface, porosity, and coverage by tin oxide. The material electrochemical activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and stability was investigated: two accelerated stress tests (ASTs), mimicking either a base-load cycle procedure (P1) or a start-stop procedure (P2), were performed at T = 80 °C. The sample coated at pH = 0.7 and the sample with the lowest loading, deposited at pH = 11.5, exhibited interesting performances, both in term of stability (under P1) and activity. On the contrary, samples with highly covering tin oxide coating displayed unsatisfactory initial performances, owing to the low electrical conductivity of their catalytic support. In any case, the aging under P2 leads in a dramatic decrease of the electrocatalyst activity. This either resulted from (i) the low degree of organization of the carbon aerogel, the latter being prone to harsh corrosion when non-covered by the tin oxide, or (ii) by the chemical changes undergone by the tin oxide during the AST, leading to the formation of an amorphous, low electrical conductivity support.

Graphical Abstract


Carbon aerogel Tin oxide Composite Electrocatalyst Durability PEMFC 



The authors wish to thank Pierre Ilbizian for the help with supercritical drying, Suzanne Jacomet for the SEM analysis, Gabriel Monge for the XRD (CEMEF-MINES ParisTech), and Capenergies and Tenerrdis for their support. MC thanks the French IUF for its support.

Funding Information

The French National Research Agency program, (ANR-14-CE05-0047 project CORECAT) funded this work. Some of this work has also been funded within the framework of the Centre of Excellence of Multifunctional Architectured Materials “CEMAM” n° AN-10-LABX-44-01.

Supplementary material

12678_2018_505_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MINES ParisTech, PERSEE-Centre procédés, énergies renouvelables et systèmes énergétiquesPSL UniversitySophia Antipolis CedexFrance
  2. 2.Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP (Institute of Engineering Univ. Grenoble Alpes) LEPMIGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.LEPMIUniversity of Savoie Mont BlancChambéryFrance
  4. 4.French University InstituteParisFrance
  5. 5.Clermont Université, ICCFClermont-FerrandFrance
  6. 6.CNRS, ICCF, UMR 6296AubièreFrance
  7. 7.Fahad Bin Sultan UniversityTabukKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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