Sulfated zirconia as a proton conductor for fuel cells: Stability to hydrolysis and influence on catalysts

Satoshi Tominaka, Toshiyuki Momma, Bruno Scrosati, Tetsuya Osaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sulfated zirconia is an inorganic solid superacid having sulfate groups covalently bonded to its surface. In this work, sulfated zirconia is synthesized by a solvent-free method to obtain it in the nanoparticle form. This nanostructured sulfated zirconia has been evaluated in terms of (i) chemical stability to hydrolysis and to hydrogen peroxide by thermogravimetric analysis, and (ii) influences on Pt catalyst activity by cyclic voltammetry using sulfated-zirconia dispersion as a supporting electrolyte solution. The results demonstrate that our sulfated zirconia is stable almost perfectly to hydrolysis but partly decomposed by a Fenton reagent containing hydrogen peroxide and Fe2+. In addition, we show that oxygen reduction activity of Pt catalyst in a sulfated-zirconia dispersion is comparatively high (specific activity at 0.9 V vs. RHE, i0.9: ca. 17 μA cm-2) compared to that in a 0.5 M sulfuric acid solution (i0.9: ca. 15 μA cm-2). Finally, we demonstrate that sulfated zirconia does not influence hydrogen oxidation reaction. These results lead us to conclude that sulfated zirconia is a promising proton conductor for fuel cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4065-4071
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume195
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 1

Fingerprint

zirconium oxides
Zirconia
fuel cells
hydrolysis
Protons
Fuel cells
Hydrolysis
conductors
catalysts
Catalysts
protons
hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide
zirconium oxide
Chemical stability
sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Electrolytes
Sulfates

Keywords

  • Catalytic activity
  • Electrolyte
  • Fuel cell
  • Proton conductor
  • Sulfated zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

Sulfated zirconia as a proton conductor for fuel cells : Stability to hydrolysis and influence on catalysts. / Tominaka, Satoshi; Momma, Toshiyuki; Scrosati, Bruno; Osaka, Tetsuya.

In: Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 195, No. 13, 01.07.2010, p. 4065-4071.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Sulfated zirconia is an inorganic solid superacid having sulfate groups covalently bonded to its surface. In this work, sulfated zirconia is synthesized by a solvent-free method to obtain it in the nanoparticle form. This nanostructured sulfated zirconia has been evaluated in terms of (i) chemical stability to hydrolysis and to hydrogen peroxide by thermogravimetric analysis, and (ii) influences on Pt catalyst activity by cyclic voltammetry using sulfated-zirconia dispersion as a supporting electrolyte solution. The results demonstrate that our sulfated zirconia is stable almost perfectly to hydrolysis but partly decomposed by a Fenton reagent containing hydrogen peroxide and Fe2+. In addition, we show that oxygen reduction activity of Pt catalyst in a sulfated-zirconia dispersion is comparatively high (specific activity at 0.9 V vs. RHE, i0.9: ca. 17 μA cm-2) compared to that in a 0.5 M sulfuric acid solution (i0.9: ca. 15 μA cm-2). Finally, we demonstrate that sulfated zirconia does not influence hydrogen oxidation reaction. These results lead us to conclude that sulfated zirconia is a promising proton conductor for fuel cells.

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