Combining Nitrogen Precursors in Synthesis of Non-Precious Metal ORR Catalysts with Improved Fuel Cell Performance
Previously, we introduced a new non-precious metal ORR catalyst derived from two nitrogen precursors with different decomposition temperatures: easily decomposing cyanamide (CM) and more thermally stable polyaniline (PANI).2 In this approach, CM acts as an efficient pore-forming agent that allows for the formation of a highly porous structure, which in particular benefits the high-current response of the resulting electrocatalyst. Compared to the alternative approach utilizing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs),3,4 the use of cyanamide promises a very significant reduction in the NPMC cost, without sacrificing ORR activity.
In an effort to further improve the PEFC performance of the two nitrogen-precursor NPMCs, we have explored approaches involving the use of ammonia treatment, the addition of various carbon supports, and inclusion of multiple transition metals. In this presentation, we will summarize the results of these studies, which have involved the extensive use of characterization techniques, such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, surface area/pore distribution measurements, and nano-scale X-ray computed tomography. In the conclusion, we will also define critical factors for enhancing the performance of NPMCs in the PEFC cathode and outline directions for future research.
Financial support for this research by DOE-EERE through Fuel Cell Technologies Office is gratefully acknowledged. Microscopy research supported through a user project at ORNL’s Center for Nanomaterials Sciences, which is an Office of Science User Facility.
- Spendelow et al., DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office, Fuel Cell System Cost-2013, (2013).
- Hoon T. Chung et al., “Combined nitrogen precursor approach to develop highly active non-precious metal oxygen reduction reaction catalyst.” in preparation.
- S. Ma et al., “Cobalt Imidazolate Framework as Precursor for Oxygen Reduction Reaction Electrocatalysts,” Chem. Eur. J. 17, 2063 (2011).
- Proietti et al., “Iron-based cathode catalyst with enhanced power density in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells,” Nat. Commun. 2, 416 (2011)