In Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) the thickness, structure and morphology of the electrode layer play an important role in the cell performance. This effect becomes particularly significant when the cathode catalyst is based on a non-precious metal due to the higher catalyst loadings required to compensate for the lower catalytic activity when compared to Pt based catalysts. In this study, an iron(III) porphyrin framework material was synthesized and pyrolyzed and its catalytic activity towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) was evaluated using rotating disk electrode (RDE) experiments and single cell testing. Single cell performance was evaluated as a function of the electrode catalyst loading (electrode thickness) and oxygen partial pressure. As expected, the ORR kinetic overpotential was the major contributor to the overall voltage loss. However, the mass transport contribution to the voltage loss became more prominent with small increases in the cathode catalyst loading. The observed performance is discussed in the context of structure and morphology of the catalyst layer (CL), analyzed through scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment