Chemically Tuned Anode with Tailored Aqueous Hydrocarbon Binder for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

School of Chemical Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea.
Langmuir (Impact Factor: 4.38). 07/2009; 25(14):8217-25. DOI: 10.1021/la900406d
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An anode for direct methanol fuel cells was chemically tuned by tailoring an aqueous hydrocarbon catalyst (SPI-BT) binder instead of using a conventional perfluorinated sulfonic acid ionomer (PFSI). SPI-BT designed in triethylamine salt form showed lower proton conductivity than PFSI, but it was stable in the catalyst ink forming the aqueous colloids. The aqueous colloidal particle size of SPI-BT was much smaller than that of PFSI. The small SPI-BT colloidal particles contributed to forming small catalyst agglomerates and simultaneously reducing their pore volume. Consequently, the high filling level of binders in the pores, where Pt-Ru catalysts are mainly located on the wall and physically interconnected, resulted in increased electrochemical active surface area of the anode, leading to high catalyst utilization. In addition, the chemical affinity between the SPI-BT binder and the membrane material derived from their similar chemical structure induced a stable interface on the membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) and showed low electric resistance. Upon adding SPI-BT, the synergistic effect of high catalyst utilization, improved mass transfer behavior to Pt-Ru catalyst, and low interfacial resistance of MEA became greater than the influence of reduced proton conductivity in the electrochemical performance of single cells. The electrochemical performance of MEAs with SPI-BT anode was enhanced to almost the same degree or somewhat higher than that with PFSI at 90 degrees C.

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