Graphene Oxide as a Catalytic Agent in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Platinum (Pt) is commonly used as a catalyst in fuel cell production. Platinum being an expensive metal, makes commercialization of fuel cells uneconomical. Many research groups are working on finding the alternative catalytic material. Graphene and carbon-based nanomaterials have potential to replace Pt as catalyst in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) due to their properties such as broad electrochemically active surface area, fast carrier mobility, high conductivity, and ability to stabilize and increase the durability of fuel cells. Proton conducting Polymer Electrolyte Membranes (PEMs) are used in PEMFCs to allow protons (H+) to pass through the electrodes. An effective PEM should be able to facilitate ion transfer in fuel cells. Nafion is one of the most widely used electrolytes in PEMs due to its high ionic conductivity and highly resistance to chemical reactions such as corrosion. However, water retention in Nafion membrane give rise to fouling effect, which reduces the ion transfer and performance of PEMFC. The amount of water retained also causes the polymer to swell, therefore, decreasing the efficiency of fuel cells. To overcome this drawback, hydrophobic Polycaprolactone (PCL) is being considered a potential electrolyte in this study. The objective of our research is to use Graphene Oxide as catalyst in electrodes of PEMFC and find alternative for Nafion membrane by using electrospun PCL nanofibers instead. The use of carbon-based nanomaterials has delivered commendable performance making commercialization of fuel cell products possible in near future.

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Shristi Silwal


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