Research with proton exchange membrane fuel cells has demonstrated their important potential as providers of clean energy. The commercialization of this type of fuel cell needs a breakthrough in electrocatalyst technology to reduce the relatively large amount of noble metal platinum used with the present carbon based substrates. We have recently examined suitably sized silicon carbide (SiC) particles as catalyst supports for fuel cells based on the stable chemical and mechanical properties of this material. In the present study, we have continued our work with studies of the oxygen reduction and methanol oxidation reactions of SiC supported catalysts and measured them against commercially available carbon based catalysts. The deconvolution of the hydrogen desorption signals in CV cycles shows a higher contribution of Pt (110) & Pt (111) peaks compared to Pt (100) for SiC based supports than for carbon based commercial catalyst, when HClO4 is used as electrolyte. The Pt (110) & Pt (111) facets are shown to have higher electrochemical activities than Pt (100) facets. To the best of our knowledge, methanol oxidation studies and the comparison of peak deconvolutions of the H desorption region in CV cyclic studies are here reported for the first time for SiC based catalysts. The reaction kinetics for the oxygen reduction and for methanol oxidation with Pt/SiC are observed to be similar to the carbon based catalysts. The SiC based catalyst shows a higher specific surface activity than BASF (Pt/C) for methanol oxidation and oxygen reduction while the mass activity values are comparable.
Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2013, Issue A, p. 15509-15516