Proton exchange membrane fuel cells suffer from poor long-term durability of the platinum catalyst at the cathode. This must be overcome before this type of fuel cell can become commercially viable.
Xueliang Sun and colleagues, University of Western Ontario, Canada, have developed a durable Pt nanowire with a unique 1D morphology. The nanowires are supported on carbon black and take a multiarmed, starlike shape. The interconnected network of these nanowires makes the Pt less vulnerable to dissolution, Ostwald ripening, and aggregation during fuel cell operation.
There were no obvious morphological changes of the nanowires after accelerated durability testing, although slight aggregation was seen. The scientists attribute this to corrosion of the carbon support. Comparison with a current commercial Pt/C catalyst made of Pt nanoparticles, showed this nanostructure has higher activity as well as durability, making it a promising candidate for future fuel cells.
- A Highly Durable Platinum Nanocatalyst for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells: Multiarmed Starlike Nanowire Single Crystal
S. Sun, G. Zhang, D. Geng, Y. Chen, R. Li, M. Cai, X. Sun,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50(2), 422–426.