International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.45, No.38, 19801-19812, 2020
Balancing the electron conduction and mass transfer: Effect of nickel foam thickness on the performance of an alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell (ADEFC) with 3D porous anode
Nickel foam has been applying as the electrode support material for alkaline direct ethanol fuel cells, since its unique three-dimensional network structure helps efficiently use the catalyst to improve the cell performance. In this work, the effect of the thickness of nickel foam electrodes on cell performance is investigated. The experimental results show that the nickel foam thickness influences both the electron conduction and mass transfer, and the optimal thickness is a trade-off between them. Through XRD, SEM image, polarization curve test, EIS test and CV test, it is found that the nickel foam electrode with the thickness of 0.6 mm has better performance than that of 0.3 mm and 1.0 mm. The thinner the nickel foam, the better the conductivity. However, the corresponding three-dimensional space becomes narrower, which leads to partial agglomeration of the catalyst and hindrance of mass transfer. In addition, the influence of catalyst loading on the performance of 0.6 mm nickel foam electrode is explored. The maximum power density of 1.0 mg cm(-2) Pd loading reaches 56.3 mW cm(-2) at 60 degrees C, which is higher than that of 2.0 mg cm(-2) loading, indicating that the three-dimensional network structure of nickel foam can efficiently utilize the catalyst, and fully exert the catalytic function of the catalyst even at a lower catalyst loading. Moreover, the effects of operating temperature and ethanol concentration on cell performance are also studied. The cell performance increases with the increase of temperature, and it reaches the highest with 3 M ethanol. (C) 2020 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.