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Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 1429–1437 | Cite as

Influence of carbon support on the performance of platinum based oxygen reduction catalysts in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell

  • Jörg KaiserEmail author
  • Pavel A. Simonov
  • Vladimir I. Zaikovskii
  • Christoph Hartnig
  • Ludwig Jörissen
  • Elena R. Savinova
Original Paper

Abstract

Novel carbons from the Sibunit family prepared via pyrolysis of hydrocarbons [Yermakov YI, Surovikin VF, Plaksin GV, Semikolenov VA, Likholobov VA, Chuvilin AL, Bogdanov SV (1987) React Kinet Catal Lett 33:435] possess a number of attractive properties for fuel cell applications. In this work Sibunit carbons with BET surface areas ranging from ca. 20 to 420 m2 g−1 were used as supports for platinum and the obtained catalysts were tested as cathodes in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell. The metal loading per unit surface area of carbon support was kept constant in order to maintain similar metal dispersions (∼0.3). Full cell tests revealed a strong influence of the carbon support texture on cell performance. The highest mass specific activities at 0.85 V were achieved for the 40 and 30 wt.% Pt catalysts prepared on the basis of Sibunit carbons with BET surface areas of 415 and 292 m2 g−1. These exceeded the mass specific activities of conventional 20 wt.% Pt/Vulcan XC-72 catalyst by a factor of ca. 4 in oxygen and 6 in air feed. Analysis of the I–U curves revealed that the improved cell performance was related to the improved mass transport in the cathode layers. The mass transport overvoltages were found to depend strongly on the specific surface area and the texture of the support.

Keywords

Carbon support Oxygen reduction PEMFC Platinum catalyst 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The work was supported through the network “Efficient Oxygen Reduction for Electrochemical Energy Conversion” funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Science, Grant 01 SF 0302, and partially by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research under Grant 06-03-32737. The authors would like to thank Plaksin G.V. for providing the samples of Sibunit carbons and Voropaev I.N. for assistance in the synthesis of some catalyst samples.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg Kaiser
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Pavel A. Simonov
    • 3
  • Vladimir I. Zaikovskii
    • 3
  • Christoph Hartnig
    • 1
  • Ludwig Jörissen
    • 1
  • Elena R. Savinova
    • 3
  1. 1.Division 3 Electrochemical Energy Storage and ConversionCenter for Solar Energy and Hydrogen ResearchUlmGermany
  2. 2.Degussa-Initiators GmbH & Co. KGPullachGermany
  3. 3.Boreskov Institute of Catalysis Russian Academy of SciencesNovosibirskRussia

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