Nitrogen-doped carbon nanofiber catalyst for ORR in PEM fuel cell stack: Performance, durability and market application aspects
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational journal of hydrogen energy. 2016, 41 (39), 17616-17630. 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2016.07.137
A noble metal-free catalyst based on N-doped carbon nanofibers supported on graphite (N-CNF1 ) was employed for the oxygen reduction at the cathode of a Nafion PEMFC with a commercial Pt/C anode. Obtained performance in pure H2 and O2 indicated the presence of significant mass-transport limitations when utilizing catalyst loadings between 1 and 10 mg cm-2 . Strategies to reduce the limitations were explored by optimization of the cathode ionomer content, catalyst loading and application technique. Pore-formers (Li2CO3, (NH4)2CO3 and polystyrene microspheres) were utilized to improve the mass-transport within the layer. A maximum of 72 mW cm-2 and 1400 A g-1 or 300 W g -1 at peak power was demonstrated. The catalyst was then applied to the cathode of a 10-cell fuel cell stack, and a 400-hour durability test was conducted. The average cell voltage decay amounted to 162 µV h -1 . Finally, a market application analysis was conducted by comparing the capital and operating costs of FC systems based on Pt/C and on N-CNF cathodes. While the cheap (3,32 € g-1 ) NCNF catalyst reduces the single MEA cost by almost a third, the total cost of ownership of an N-CNF based PEMFC system is still higher due to lower cell performance.