Next Generation Electrospun Nanofiber Electrodes for Hydrogen/Air Fuel Cells
Slack, John James
Fuel cells offer high energy-density and high power-density as sustainable, portable energy conversion devices. Obstacles to mass-market adoption of this technology include insufficient durability (power density retention after stress tests), low performance at realistic operating conditions (e.g. ≤40% relative humidity), and the high cost of materials (e.g. platinum catalyst). Through electrospinning and innovative catalyst ink preparation, this work addresses each obstacle by (1) improving durability of platinum-free electrodes using a Nafion and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder, (2) increasing power and durability of PtCo/C as a cathode catalyst in membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) with a Nafion/PAA binder, (3) analyzing MEAs with Pt/C and Nafion/PVDF at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (4) using sol-gel chemistry before, during, and after the electrospinning process to create a hybrid organic/inorganic network binder (5) developing a catalyst ink which allowed for the removal of the carrier polymer resulting in a high performance neat Nafion nanofiber electrode MEA.