Enhancing stability and efficiency of oxygen reduction reaction in polymer electrolyte fuel cells with high surface area mesoporous carbon synthesized from spent mushroom compost†
Mesoporous carbon (MC) synthesized from spent mushroom compost is realized as a durable support for Pt to efficiently enhance the oxygen reduction reaction in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. The spent mushroom compost heat-treated at 800 °C to form mesoporous carbon (MC-800) shows a higher BET surface area of 690 m2 g−1 compared to other MC. Pt impregnated on MC-800 shows superior electrochemical surface area and oxygen reduction activity in comparison with Pt/C. In addition, during the durability test carried out between 0.6 and 1.2 V, the MC-800 supported Pt electrocatalyst exhibits the ORR activity with higher limiting current and 20 mV positive onset potential shift in comparison with Pt/C, even after 10 000 potential cycles. Further, the fuel cell assembly comprising thin metal loading (150 μg cm−2) of Pt/MC-800 electrocatalyst as the cathode delivers superior peak power density and retains more than 40% of the initial cell performance as compared to Pt/C, even under stringent durability test conditions between 1 and 1.6 V vs. DHE.