Modeling the effect of low Pt loading cathode catalyst layer in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. Part II: Parametric analysis

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IOP Science
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A parametric analysis is presented using a previously validated 1D model for a cathode catalyst layer (CL). The results show that maximum power density at low Pt loading can be maximized with relatively thin CLs (thickness - 2 micrómetros) featuring a high carbon volume fraction (low ionomer-to-carbon weight ratio, I/C) compared to high Pt loading CLs. The shift of the optimal carbon volume fraction (I/C ratio) is caused by the dominant role of the local oxygen transport resistance at low Pt loading, which is lowered by a reduction of the average ionomer film thickness (better ionomer distribution among carbon particles). In contrast, at high Pt loading, higher porosity and pore radius (lower carbon volume fraction) is beneficial due to an increase of bulk effective diffusivity despite thickening of ionomer films. Moreover, the results show that performance at low Pt loading is significantly improved with increasing mass-specific activity. The effect of average saturation and ionomer permeability on performance at low Pt loading is lower compared to dry CL composition and mass-specific activity.
Catalyst layer, Microstructure, Oxygen transport, Polymer electrolyte fuel cell, Pt loading
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Sánchez-Ramos, A., Gostick, J. T., & García-Salaberri, P. A. (2022). Modeling the Effect of Low Pt Loading Cathode Catalyst Layer in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells. Part II: Parametric Analysis. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 169(7), 074503.