Sulfated zirconia nanoparticles as a proton conductor for fuel cell electrodes

Satoshi Tominaka, Naohisa Akiyama, Fausto Croce, Toshiyuki Momma, Bruno Scrosati, Tetsuya Osaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sulfated zirconia nanoparticles are evaluated as a possible alternative for a solid proton conductor in a fuel-cell catalyst layer. Two methods are applied for the synthesis of the nanoparticles, i.e.: (i) a conventional method treating ZrO2 particles in sulfuric acid, and (ii) a solvent-free method directly synthesizing sulfated zirconia nanoparticles through the thermal decomposition of a mixture of ZrOCl2 and (NH4)2SO4. The nanoparticles synthesized by the solvent-free method have a size of 5-10 nm and an amorphous structure, and moreover their properties are promising in view of the application. In particular, the proton conductivity of the nanoparticles is high enough, i.e. of the 10-2 S cm-1 order, to be comparable to that of Nafion. Even though they possibly reduce the activity of Pt catalyst, layers containing sulfated zirconia as a proton conductor prove to be active as catalyst in fuel cell prototypes. Compared with conventional, Nafion-based cells, the maximum power density of the cells using sulfated zirconia is about one third. We believe that improvement in the preparation procedures for catalyst layers and membrane electrode assemblies will improve the cell performance. Therefore sulfated zirconia can be a valid proton conductor for fuel cell application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-663
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume185
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec 1

Fingerprint

zirconium oxides
Zirconia
fuel cells
Protons
Fuel cells
conductors
Nanoparticles
nanoparticles
Electrodes
electrodes
protons
Catalysts
catalysts
cells
Proton conductivity
electrocatalysts
sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
assemblies
thermal decomposition

Keywords

  • Catalyst layer
  • Fuel cell
  • Nanoparticles
  • 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 nanoparticles as a proton conductor for fuel cell electrodes. / Tominaka, Satoshi; Akiyama, Naohisa; Croce, Fausto; Momma, Toshiyuki; Scrosati, Bruno; Osaka, Tetsuya.

In: Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 185, No. 2, 01.12.2008, p. 656-663.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tominaka, Satoshi ; Akiyama, Naohisa ; Croce, Fausto ; Momma, Toshiyuki ; Scrosati, Bruno ; Osaka, Tetsuya. / Sulfated zirconia nanoparticles as a proton conductor for fuel cell electrodes. In: Journal of Power Sources. 2008 ; Vol. 185, No. 2. pp. 656-663.
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