We investigate platinum supported on tantalum oxide as a possible catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Three synthetic routes are evaluated to compare activities of tantalum-oxide-supported platinum fuel cell electrocatalysts: (i) deposition of platinum colloids on tantalum oxide followed by mechanical grinding with Vulcan carbon (VC); (ii) deposition of tantalum oxide on VC, followed by the deposition of platinum colloids; and (iii) deposition of Pt colloids on VC, followed by deposition of tantalum oxide. These are compared to a PtVC standard made with the same Pt colloids. The area-specific activities for the ORR at 0.9 V are a factor of 1.5 higher for catalysts synthesized via preparation route (ii) compared to a PtVC standard. The area-specific activities of the catalysts synthesized via routes (i) and (iii) are close to that of PtVC. The higher area-specific activity of the catalyst synthesized by route (ii) may be due to the preferential adsorption of OH groups to the oxide vs platinum surface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Materials Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Condensed Matter Physics