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Issue 4, 2011
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Bottom-up design of carbon nanotube-based electrocatalysts and their application in high temperature operating polymer electrolyte fuel cells

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Abstract

We describe the fabrication of a well-defined carbon nanotube (CNT)-based composite, in which the CNTs are individually wrapped by a polymer in a homogeneous fashion and platinum nanoparticles (Pt) are immobilized on the polymer-wrapped CNTs. Polybenzimidazoles (PBIs) are used as the wrapping polymer since a strong adsorption of PBIs onto the CNT surfaces enables the exfoliation of CNT bundles and nanometre-thick PBI wrapping layer serves as a glue for the efficient immobilization of Pt. We demonstrate the use of the composite for the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) electrocatalyst. The well-defined interfacial nanostructure of the composite enables efficient reactant diffusion, resulting in good oxygen reduction reaction activity. Single cell tests reveal that the ultra-thin PBI-wrapping layer around the CNTs serves as a proton conducting layer to deliver protons in the catalyst membrane. PEFCs using the composite show an excellent fuel cell performance at 120 °C under non-humid atmosphere, whereas the conventional Nafion-based PEFCs are not workable in such condition. Unique combination of the CNTs and PBIs provides a promising route for the next-generation high temperature PEFC.

Graphical abstract: Bottom-up design of carbon nanotube-based electrocatalysts and their application in high temperature operating polymer electrolyte fuel cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Aug 2010, accepted on 28 Oct 2010 and first published on 24 Nov 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0JM02744H
Citation: J. Mater. Chem., 2011,21, 1187-1190
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    Bottom-up design of carbon nanotube-based electrocatalysts and their application in high temperature operating polymer electrolyte fuel cells

    K. Matsumoto, T. Fujigaya, K. Sasaki and N. Nakashima, J. Mater. Chem., 2011, 21, 1187
    DOI: 10.1039/C0JM02744H

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