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Graphitized carbon nanofibers as catalyst support for PEMFC


Graphitized carbon nanofibers (G-CNFs) show superior thermal stability and corrosion resistance in PEM fuel cell environment over traditional carbon black (CB) and carbon nanotube catalyst supports. However, graphitized carbon nanofibers have an inert surface with only very limited amount of surface defects for the anchorage of Pt catalyst nanoparticles. Modification of the fiber surface is therefore needed. In this study Pt nanoparticles have been deposited onto as-received and surface-modified G-CNFs. The surface modifications of the fibers comprise acid treatment and nitrogen doping by pyrolysis of a polyaniline (PANI) precursor. The modified surfaces were studied by FTIR and XPS and the electrochemical characterization, including long-term Pt stability tests, was performed using a low-temperature PEMFC single cell. The performance and stability of the G-CNF supported catalysts were compared with a CB supported catalyst and the effects of the different surface treatments were discussed. On the basis of these results, new membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) were manufactured and tested also for carbon corrosion by in situ FTIR analysis of the cathode exhaust gases. It was observed that the graphitized carbon nanofibers showed 5 times lower carbon corrosion compared to carbon black based catalyst when potential reached 1.5 V vs. RHE in simulated start/stop cycling.






  • E. Yli-Rantala
  • Annti Pasanen
  • Pertti Kauranen
  • Virginia Ruiz
  • E. Kauppinen
  • Allejandro Oyarce
  • Göran Lindbergh
  • Carina Lagergren
  • Mahdi Darab
  • Svein Sunde
  • Magnus Skinlo Thomassen
  • S. Ma-Andersen
  • Eivind Skou


  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Aalto University School of Science and Technology
  • Royal Institute of Technology
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Industry / Sustainable Energy Technology
  • University of Southern Denmark

Presented at

Progress MEA2010


La Grand Motte


19.09.2010 - 22.09.2010


Univ Montpellier



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