Comparative degradation study of carbon supported proton exchange membrane fuel cell electrocatalysts – The influence of the platinum to carbon ratio on the degradation rate

Speder, Jozsef; Zana, Alessandro; Spanos, Ioannis; Kirkensgaard, Jacob JK; Mortensen, Kell; Hanzlik, Marianne; Arenz, Matthias
Journal of Power Sources, 2014

A colloidal synthesis approach is used to prepare supported proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) catalysts with various Pt loadings e from low to extremely high ones. The catalyst samples are used to continue our investigation of the role of the Pt:C ratio in the degradation processes. The influence of the platinum loading on the electrochemical surface area (ECSA) loss is evaluated in a systematic electrochemical study by using two commercially available carbon blacks, namely Vulcan XC72R and Ketjenblack EC-300J. Accelerated degradation tests simulating load cycle and start-up/shutdown con- ditions are carried out in accordance with the Fuel Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan (FCCJ) recommendations. Under conditions simulating the load cycle of PEM fuel cells no unambiguous cor- relation between the ECSA loss and the Pt:C ratio is found. By contrast, under conditions simulating the repetitive start-up/shutdown processes of PEMFCs the ECSA loss first increases with increasing Pt loading. However, it decreases again for very high loadings. Furthermore, the Vulcan samples exhibited higher ECSA losses than the Ketjenblack samples, indicating the important role of the physical and chemical properties of pristine carbon supports in the carbon degradation mechanism.

KEYWORDS: Nanoparticles