Ultrafine TaOx nanoparticles were electrodeposited on carbon black (CB) powder in a nonaqueous Ta complex solution at room temperature, and the resultant TaOx/CB catalysts were assessed as oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) electrocatalysts for polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) cathodes. The Ta electrodeposition process was scaled up using a newly designed working electrode containing a CB dense layer, without introducing any binder such as the ionomer Nafion in the electrode for electrodeposition. The electrodeposited TaOx/CB powders were removed from the deposition electrode and subsequent H2 treatment at varying temperatures between 523 and 1073 K was attempted to increase the ORR performance. The TaOx/CB samples were characterized by SEM, STEM, XPS, and EELS measurements. XPS and EELS results indicated the reduced nature of the Ta species caused by the high-temperature treatment in H2, while STEM images clearly revealed that the TaOx particles aggregated as the treatment temperature increased. When the TaOx/CB catalyst, which was treated at 873 K for 2 h, was deposited on a glassy carbon substrate with Nafion ionomer, it resulted in the highest activity among the samples investigated, giving an onset potential of 0.95 VRHE at -2 μA cm-2 in a 0.1 M H2SO4 solution. Moreover, the long-term stability test with 10,000 cycles of the voltammetry only led to a 6% loss in the ORR currents, demonstrating the high stability of the TaOx/CB catalysts. Kinetic analysis by R(R)DE indicated that the four-electron transfer pathway in the ORR process was dominant for this TaOx/CB catalyst, and Tafel plots showed a slope corresponding to a one-electron reaction for the rate-determining step.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)