Enhancement of Platinum Mass Activity on the Surface of Polymer-wrapped Carbon Nanotube-Based Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts
Cost reduction and improved durability are the two major targets for accelerating the commercialization of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEFCs). To achieve these goals, the development of a novel method to fabricate platinum (Pt)-based electrocatalysts with a high mass activity, deposited on durable conductive support materials, is necessary. In this study, we describe a facile approach to grow homogeneously dispersed Pt nanoparticles (Pt) with a narrow diameter distribution in a highly controllable fashion on polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes (CNTs). A PEFC cell employing a composite with the smallest Pt nanoparticle size (2.3 nm diameter) exhibited a ~8 times higher mass activity compared to a cell containing Pt with a 3.7 nm diameter. This is the first example of the diamter control of Pt on polymer-wrapped carbon supporting materials, and the study opens the door for the development of a future-generation of PEFCs using a minimal amount of Pt.