Structure-Activity-Durability Relationships of (CM+PANI)-Me-C PGM-Free Catalysts

Sunday, 1 October 2017: 14:40
Maryland C (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
U. Martinez, S. Komini Babu, E. F. Holby (Los Alamos National Laboratory), K. Artyushkova (University of New Mexico), L. Lin, H. T. Chung, G. M. Purdy, and P. Zelenay (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
The development of durable and highly active platinum group metal-free (PGM-free) electrocatalysts is key to overcoming the greatest barrier in the commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles: the high cost and limited availability of PGM catalysts utilized in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. While the majority of research on PGM-free catalysts has focused on developing active and selective materials for the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), minimal work has been devoted to the understanding of the physical and chemical structure of active PGM-free catalysts and its relationship with the long-term stability of these novel materials. This understanding is imperative for the further development of next-generation PGM-free catalysts with improved activity and durability that could ultimately replace PGM-based ORR catalysts in fuel cells.

PGM-free catalysts with high volumetric activity, four-electron selectivity (i.e., low hydrogen peroxide yield), and long-term stability in highly acidic and strongly oxidizing environment of the fuel cell cathode are desired as replacements for PGM-based ORR catalysts. For this presentation, state-of-the-art PGM-free ORR catalysts, developed by our group [1, 2], which are obtained via high-temperature treatment of dual nitrogen precursors, cyanamide (CM) and polyaniline (PANI), different transition metal precursors (Fe, Co, Mn), and with or without carbon support are used as model PGM-free catalyst systems. Depending on the transition metal used, catalysts with different physical and electrochemical characteristic properties are obtained. Specifically, Fe-based catalysts are generally known for their high activity and low peroxide yield generation. However, Co- and Mn-based catalysts generate highly graphitic structures which could improve catalyst long-term stability. In this work, structure-activity-durability relationships are developed based on comprehensive physical, chemical, and electrochemical characterization of highly active (CM+PANI)-Me-C catalysts (Me = Fe, Co, Mn), correlating properties such as carbon structure, elemental speciation, and CO2 generation.


Financial support for this research by DOE-EERE through Fuel Cell Technologies Office is gratefully acknowledged.

[1] Chung, H.T., Holby, E.F., Purdy, G.M., Babu, S.K., Litster, S., Cullen, D.A. More, K.L., Zelenay, P. (2015). “Combining Nitrogen Precursors in Synthesis of Non-Precious Metal ORR Catalysts with Improved Fuel Cell Performance.” ECS Meeting Abstracts, MA2015-02 (37), 1278.

[2] Martinez, U., Holby, E.F., Dumont, J.H., Chung, H.T., Zelenay, P. (2016) “Non-PGM ORR Catalysts Based on Transition Metals Alternative to Iron.” ECS Meeting Abstracts, MA2016-01, 1719.