One of the effective ways to increase the electrocatalytic activity of carbon based electrocatalyst in a fuel cell is by in-situ incorporation of heteroatom into the carbon nanostructure. Herein, a cost effective catalyst support material, nitrogen rich carbon nanostructure (NCNS) with high surface area and tubular morphology was synthesized. NCNS supported palladium-alloy based electrocatalyst (Pd3Co/NCNS) was successfully prepared and used on both sides of a fuel cell as potential alternative to expensive Pt-based electrocatalysts. The large number of nitrogen-carbon moieties present in NCNS served as anchoring sites for catalyst nanoparticles. Moreover, the tubular morphology and high surface area plays an important role in enhanced electrochemical activity of the prepared nanocomposite. The Pd-based bimetallic alloy dispersed on NCNS exhibited high activity towards both oxidation of hydrogen and reduction of oxygen in acidic medium. Thus, a fully Pt-free electrocatalyst was constructed using a cost effective electrocatalyst. The peak power density achieved using Pd3Co/NCNS at both anode and cathode simultaneously was found to be almost 25 % of the maximum power density attained using commercial Pt/C on both sides, which is the maximum value reported so far in PEMFC without using Pt on either side.
Keywords: Nitrogen doped carbon; Heteroatom doping; ORR activity; Non-Pt catalyst; Carbonization
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Chandran, P.; Ramaprabhu, S. Beilstein Arch. 2020, 202010. doi:10.3762/bxiv.2020.10.v1
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