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Keywords:

  • electrochemistry;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • mesoporous materials;
  • supported catalysts;
  • tungsten

Abstract

As one of the most important clean energy sources, proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) have been a topic of extensive research focus for decades. Unfortunately, several critical technique obstacles, such as the high cost of platinum electrode catalysts, performance degradation due to the CO poisoning of the platinum anode, and carbon corrosion by oxygen in the cathode, have greatly impeded its commercial development. A prototype of a single PEMFC catalyzed by a mesostructured platinum-free WO3/C anode and a mesostructured carbon-free Pt/WC cathode catalysts is reported herein. The prototype cell exhibited 93 % power output of a standard PEMFC using commercial Pt/C catalysts at 50 and 70 °C, and more importantly, CO poisoning-free and carbon corrosion-resistant characters of the anode and cathode, respectively. Consequently, the prototype cell demonstrated considerably enhanced cell operation durability. The mesostructured electrode catalysts are therefore highly promising in the future development and application of PEMFCs.