We report a durable electrocatalyst support, highly graphitized mesoporous carbon (GMPC), for oxygen reduction in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. GMPC is prepared through graphitizing the self-assembled soft-template mesoporous carbon (MPC) under high temperature. Heat-treatment at 2800 °C greatly improves the degree of graphitization while most of the mesoporous structures and the specific surface area of MPC are retained. GMPC is then noncovalently functionalized with poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA) and loaded with Pt nanoparticles by reducing Pt precursor (H2PtCl6) in ethylene glycol. Pt nanoparticles of ∼3.0 nm in diameter are uniformly dispersed on GMPC. Compared to Pt supported on Vulcan XC-72 carbon black (Pt/XC-72), Pt/GMPC exhibits a higher mass activity towards oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and the mass activity retention (in percentage) is improved by a factor of ∼2 after 44 h accelerated degradation test under the potential step (1.4-0.85 V) electrochemical stressing condition which focuses on support corrosion. The enhanced activity and durability of Pt/GMPC are attributed to the graphitic structure of GMPC which is more resistant to corrosion. These findings demonstrate that GMPC is a promising oxygen reduction electrocatalyst support for PEM fuel cells. The approach reported in this work provides a facile, eco-friendly promising strategy for synthesizing stable metal nanoparticles on hydrophobic support materials.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering