The development of a durable and methanol tolerant electrocatalyst with a high oxygen reduction reaction activity is highly important for the cathode side of direct methanol fuel cells. Here, we describe a simple and novel methodology to fabricate a practically applicable electrocatalyst with a high methanol tolerance based on poly[2,2′-(2,6-pyridine)-5,5′-bibenzimidazole]-wrapped multi-walled carbon nanotubes, on which Pt nanoparticles have been deposited, then coated with poly(vinylphosphonic acid) (PVPA). The polymer coated electrocatalyst showed an ∼3.3 times higher oxygen reduction reaction activity compared to that of the commercial CB/Pt and methanol tolerance in the presence of methanol to the electrolyte due to a 50% decreased methanol adsorption on the Pt after coating with the PVPA. Meanwhile, the peroxide generation of the PVPA coated electrocatalyst was as low as 0.8% with 2 M methanol added to the electrolyte, which was much lower than those of the non-PVPA-coated electrocatalyst (7.5%) and conventional CB/Pt (20.5%). Such a high methanol tolerance is very important for the design of a direct methanol fuel cell cathode electrocatalyst with a high performance.
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