Catalysts are key cost components in proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Consequently, there has been ongoing research to improve electrode catalyst activity and durability, particularly for platinum-based cathodes in hydrogen/air PEM fuel cells.
Wenjing Zhang and Peter N. Pintauro, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA, fabricated a nanofiber electrode by electrospinning an ink composed of Pt/C catalyst particles in a solution of Nafion and poly(acrylic acid). Exceptionally high power densities and platinum mass activity are achieved when using the mat as cathode in H2/air and H2/O2 fuel cell membrane–electrode assemblies.
The nanofiber cathode also exhibits outstanding stability in accelerated durability tests.