One-pot synthesis of transition metal ion-chelating ordered mesoporous carbon/carbon nanotube composites for active and durable fuel cell catalysts
Journal article, 2017
Development of non-precious metal catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells with high activity and durability and with optimal water management properties is of outmost technological importance and highly challenging. Here we study the possibilities offered through judicious selection of small molecular precursors used for the formation of ordered mesoporous carbon-based non-precious metal ORR catalysts. By combining two complementary precursors, we present a one-pot synthesis that leads to a composite material consisting of transition metal ion-chelating ordered mesoporous carbon and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (TM-OMC/CNT). The resulting composite materials show high specific surface areas and a carbon structure that exhibits graphitic signatures. The synthesis procedure allows for tuning of the carbon structure, the surface area, the pore volume and the ratio of the two components of the composite. The TM-OMC/CNT composites were processed into membrane electrode assemblies and evaluated in single cell fuel cell measurements where they showed a combination of good ORR activity and very high durability.
PEM fuel cell
Ordered mesoporous carbon
Non-precious metal catalyst