Catalyst layers (CL) composed of catalyst composites and an ionomer are key components in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). In particular, the preparation conditions of the CL, starting from the dispersion of the catalyst composite dispersion with an ionomer, largely affect the PEMFC performance. In this study, the effects of alcohol content in the dispersion solvent were investigated using two binary mixtures composed of water and ethanol. In addition, Pt-loaded carbon black (CB) and Pt-loaded polymer-wrapped CB were used as the catalyst composites to study the effects of the alcohol contents on the interaction between ionomer and surface of the carbon supports. The CL prepared using the water-rich (80 wt% water) solvent achieved a higher PEMFC performance compared to that using the alcohol-rich (13 wt% water) solvent, which is ascribed to the stronger interaction between the ionomer and CB surface under water-rich conditions. Using the polymer-wrapped CB, the difference of the PEMFC performance between the CLs from the water-rich and alcohol-rich dispersions was minimal because of the comparable interaction between the ionomer and wrapping polymer surface in both solvents. Therefore, the control of the interaction between the ionomer and catalyst composites is crucial to controlling the PEMFC performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology