Journal of Power Sources, Vol.358, 76-84, 2017
Graphene-derived Fe/Co-N-C catalyst in direct methanol fuel cells: Effects of the methanol concentration and ionomer content on cell performance
Non-precious metal catalysts (typically Fe(Co)-N-C catalysts) have been widely investigated for use as cost-effective cathode materials in low temperature fuel cells. Despite the high oxygen reduction activity and methanol-tolerance of graphene-based Fe(Co)-N-C catalysts in an acidic medium, their use in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) has not yet been successfully implemented, and only a few studies have investigated this topic. Herein, we synthesized a nano-sized graphene-derived Fe/Co-N-C catalyst by physical ball-milling and a subsequent chemical modification of the graphene oxide. Twelve membrane electrode -assemblies are fabricated with various cathode compositions to determine the effects of the methanol concentration, ionomer (Le. Nafion) content, and catalyst loading on the DMFC performance. The results show that a graphene-based catalyst is capable of tolerating a highly-concentrated methanol feed up to 10.0 M. The optimized electrode composition has an ionomer content and catalyst loading of 66.7 wt% and 5.0 mg cm(-2), respectively. The highest maximum power density is ca. 32 mW cm(-2) with a relatively low PtRu content (2 mgptRu cm(-2)). This study overcomes the drawbacks of conventional graphene-based electrodes using a nano-sized graphene-based catalyst and further shows the feasibility of their potential applications in DMFC systems. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.