Nanostructured Platinum-based electrode catalysts were prepared via in-situ colloidal impregnation for polymer electrolyte fuel cells. Crystallite size, grain size, and distribution of Pt nanoparticles on carbon support materials were characterized by XRD, TEM, high-resolution FESEM, and STEM. Effective surface area and kinetically-controlled current density of Pt electrode catalysts were analyzed by cyclic and hydrodynamic voltammetry using rotating disk electrodes. PEFCs with these electrode catalysts were also prepared and their I-V characteristics were examined at 80°C.
We have succeeded to develop Pt electrode catalysts with a diameter of a few nm, supported on carbon nanofibers with different structures (including herringbone-type fibers, platelet-type fibers, and highly-conductive vapor-grown fibers), carbon nanotubes, as well as carbon black. The dependencies of nanostructure and electrochemical properties on crystallographic structure of carbon support materials and preparation conditions of electrode catalysts are analyzed and discussed. Nanostructural design of PEFC electrode catalyst layers using carbon nanofibers as catalyst supports and electrode fillers is also discussed.