Modeling Low-Platinum-Loading Effects in Fuel-Cell Catalyst Layers

TitleModeling Low-Platinum-Loading Effects in Fuel-Cell Catalyst Layers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsYoon, Wonseok, and Adam Z. Weber
JournalJournal of The Electrochemical Society
Start PageB1007
Date Published06/2011
Keywordscatalysis, electrochemical electrodes, platinum, porous materials, proton exchange membrane fuel cells

The cathode catalyst layer within a proton-exchange-membrane fuel cell is the most complex and critical, yet least understood, layer within the cell. The exact method and equations for modeling this layer are still being revised and will be discussed in this paper, including a 0.8 reaction order, existence of Pt oxide, possible non-isopotential agglomerates, and the impact of a film resistance towards oxygen transport. While the former assumptions are relatively straightforward to understand and implement, the latter film resistance is shown to cause increased mass-transport limitations with low Pt-loading catalyst layers. Model results demonstrate that the increased oxygen flux and/or diffusion pathway through the film can substantially decrease performance. Also, some scale-up concepts from the agglomerate scale to the more macroscopic porous-electrode scale are discussed and the resulting optimization scenarios investigated.

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Short TitleJ. Electrochem. Soc.