Mizutani, N. and Ishibashi, K., "Enhancing PtCo Electrode Catalyst Performance for Fuel Cell Vehicle Application," SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-1187, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-1187.
While carbon supported PtCo alloy nanoparticles emerged recently as the new standard catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction in polymer membrane electrolyte fuel cells, further improvement of catalyst performance is still of great importance to its application in fuel cell vehicles. Herein, we report two examples of such efforts, related to the improvements of catalyst preparation and carbon support design, respectively. First, by lowering acid treatment voltage, the effectiveness for the removal of unalloyed Co was enhanced significantly, leading to less Co dissolution during cell operation and about 40% higher catalyst mass activity. It has been also found that the use of nonporous carbon support material promoted mass transfer and resulted in substantial drop of overpotential at high current and low humidity. This result may suggest an effective strategy towards the development of fuel cell systems that operate without additional humidification.