Transition Metal Ion-Chelating Ordered Mesoporous Carbons as Noble Metal-Free Fuel Cell Catalysts
Journal article, 2013
A new concept for noble metal-free polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell catalysts has been developed. The catalysts consist of chelated transition metal ions incorporated in a nitrogen-functionalized ordered mesoporous carbon matrix, which is evidenced by a combination of X-ray absorption fine structure analysis and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The ordered mesoporous carbon matrix of the catalyst offers an exceptionally high specific surface area and allows conceptually for a high degree of tuning, enabling controlled variability of, e.g., pore size and curvature and thickness of the pore walls of the catalysts. Single cell fuel cell tests of membrane electrode assemblies prepared with a cathode made of iron- or cobalt-based versions of the catalyst show high power densities, reaching up to one-third of a commercial Pt/C catalyst at 0.6 V.