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Revealing the role of ionic liquids in promoting fuel cell catalysts reactivity and durability

Citation

Avid, Arezoo et al. (2022), Revealing the role of ionic liquids in promoting fuel cell catalysts reactivity and durability, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.7280/D1MH5Z

Abstract

Ionic liquids have shown to be promising additives to the catalyst layer to enhance oxygen reduction reaction in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. However, fundamental understanding of their role in complex catalyst layers in practically relevant membrane electrode assembly environment is needed for rational design of highly durable and active platinum-based catalysts. Here we explore three imidazolium-derived ionic liquids, selected for their high proton conductivity and oxygen solubility, and incorporate them into high surface area carbon black support. Further, we establish a correlation between the physical properties and electrochemical performance of the ionic liquid-modified catalysts by providing direct evidence of ionic liquids role in altering hydrophilic/hydrophobic interactions within the catalyst layer interface. The resulting catalyst with optimized interface design achieved a high mass activity of 347 A g-1Pt at 0.9 V H2/O2, power density of 0.909 W cm-2 under H2/air and 1.5 bar and had only 0.11 V potential decay at 0.8 A cm-2 after 30 k accelerated stress test cycles. This performance stems from substantial enhancement in Pt utilization, which is buried inside the mesopores and is now accessible due to ILs addition.  

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: 1652445