Enhanced activity fuel cell electrocatalysts achieved by shape control of platinum nanostructures

B.A. Larsen, K.C. Neyerlin, J.B. Bult, J.L. Blackburn, S.S. Kocha, B.S. Pivovar
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, US

Keywords: electrocatalyst, nanomaterial, fuel cell, renewable energy

Summary:

Platinum 1-d nanowires and 2-d nanoplates were fabricated as novel materials to improve upon the electrocatalytic activity of Pt-based fuel cell electrocatalysts. Both Pt nanowires and nanoplates exhibit improved specific activity by ~400% compared to Pt nanoparticles, which indicates significant potential for future development of nanoplate electrocatalysts. Furthermore, the Pt nanowires have demonstrated mass activity that exceeds the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Technologies targets. Maximizing the electrocatalytic activity of Pt is the primary technical challenge for the widespread commercialization of fuel cells, which highlights the significance of this work. The Pt nanowire and nanoplate electrocatalysts illustrate a promising new strategy to utilize nanoscale shape control for the future development of nanostructured electrocatalyst materials with enhanced specific activity.