Aerogels as Catalyst Support for Fuel Cells


Aerogels as Catalyst Support for Fuel Cells

R. Imran Jafri, Soju Joseph, Akshaya S Nair

Environmental pollution caused by the extensive use of fossil fuels and global energy crisis have increased the need to look for renewable energy sources that not only supplement the global energy needs but are economical and environment friendly, thus making way for fuel cells (FCs) as one of the alternatives for replacing the existing fossil fuel based machinery. Nevertheless, there are several factors that account for the hindrance of FCs on a large scale, one of them being the sluggish oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) kinetics taking place at the cathode. Aerogels are a class of promising materials that have the potential to improve the electrocatalytic activity, stability and durability of FCs when used as catalyst support. The present chapter focuses on reporting the latest developments in the field of aerogels as catalyst support for FCs.

Oxygen Reduction Reaction, Fuel Cells, Aerogels, Electrocatalytic Activity, Durability, Stability

Published online 2/25/2021, 22 pages

Citation: R. Imran Jafri, Soju Joseph, Akshaya S Nair, Aerogels as Catalyst Support for Fuel Cells, Materials Research Foundations, Vol. 98, pp 77-98, 2021


Part of the book on Aerogels II

[1] R. Jasinski, A new FC cathode catalyst, Nature 201 (1964) 1212−1213.
[2]N. Cheng, M.N.Banis, J. Liu, A. Riese, X. Li, R. Li, S. Ye, S. Knights, X. Sun, Extremely stable platinum nanoparticles encapsulated in a zirconia nanocage by area-selective atomic layer deposition for the oxygen reduction reaction, Adv. Mater. 27 (2015) 277−281.
[3]B.Y. Xia, H.B. Wu, N. Li, Y.Yan, X.W. Lou, X.Wang, One pot synthesis of Pt−Co alloy nanowire assemblies with tunable composition and enhanced electrocatalytic properties, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54 (2015) 3797−3801.
[4]D. Higgins, M.A. Hoque, M.H.Seo, R. Wang, F. Hassan, J.Y. Choi, M. Pritzker, A. Yu, J. Zhang, Z. Chen, Development and simulation of sulfur-doped graphene supported platinum with exemplary stability and activity towards oxygen reduction, Adv. Funct. Mater. 24 (2014)4325−4336.
[5]X. Fu, J.Y. Choi, P. Zamani, G. Jiang, M.A. Hoque, F.M. Hassan, Z. Chen, Co–N Decorated hierarchically porous graphene aerogel for efficient oxygen reduction reaction in acid, ACS Appl. Mater. & Interfaces 8 (2016) 6488–6495.
[6]S.S. Kistler, Coherent expanded aerogels and jellies, Nature 127 (1931) 741-741.
[7]P.C.Baena, A.G. Agrios, Transparent conducting aerogels of antimony-doped tin oxide, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 6 (2014) 19127-19134.
[8]I.U. Arachchige, S.L. Brock, Sol-Gel assembly of CdSe nanoparticles to form porous aerogel networks, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128 (2006) 7964-7971.
[9]M.A. Worsley, P.J. Pauzauskie, T.Y. Olson, J. Biener, J.H. Satcher, Jr.,T.F. Baumann, Synthesis of graphene aerogel with high electrical conductivity, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132 (2010) 14067-14069.
[10]H.Sun, Z. Xu, C. Gao, Multifunctional, ultra-flyweight, synergistically assembled carbon aerogels, Adv. Mater. 25 (2013) 2554-2560.
[11]M.A. Worsley, S.O. Kucheyev, H.E. Mason, M.D. Merrill, B.P. Mayer,J. Lewicki, C.AValdez, M.E. Suss, M. Stadermann, P.J. Pauzauskie, J.H. Satcher Jr., J. Bienera, T.F. Baumanna, Mechanically robust 3D graphene macroassembly with high surface area, Chem. Commun. 48 (2012) 8428-8430.
[12]T.F.Baumann, M.A.Worsley, T.Y.J.Han, J.H.SatcherJr., High surface area carbon aerogel monoliths with hierarchical porosity, J. Non-Cryst. Solids 354 (2008) 3513-3515.
[13]W.Liu, A.K. Herrmann,N.C. Bigall, P. Rodriguez, D. Wen, M. Oezaslan, T.J. Schmidt, N.Gaponik,A. Eychmüller, Noble metal aerogels-synthesis, characterization, and application as electrocatalysts, Acc. Chem. Res. 48 (2015)154–162.
[14]A. Rabis, P. Rodriguez,T.J. Schmidt, Electrocatalysis for polymer electrolyte FCs: recent achievements and future challenges, ACS Catal. 2 (2012) 864−890.
[15]C.H. Cui, S.H. Yu, Engineering interface and surface of noble metal nanoparticle nanotubes toward enhanced catalytic activity for fc applications, Acc. Chem. Res. 46 (2013)1427−1437.
[16]Z. Chen, M.Waje, W. Li, Y. Yan, Supportless Pt and PtPd nanotubes as electrocatalysts for oxygen-reduction reactions, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 46 (2007) 4060−4063.
[17]K. Shehzad, Y. Xu, C. Gao, X. Duan, Three-dimensional macro-structures of two-dimensional nanomaterials, Chem. Soc. Rev. 45 (2016) 5541-5588.
[18]C. Hu, D. Liu, Y. Xiao, L. Dai, Functionalization of graphene materials by heteroatom-doping for energy conversion and storage, Prog. Nat. Sci.28 (2018) 121–132.
[19]J. Mao, J.Iocozzia, J. Huang, K. Meng, Y. Lai, Z. Lin, Graphene aerogels for efficient energy storage and conversion, Energ. & Environ. Sci. 11 (2018) 772–799.
[20]USDOE (Department of Energy) (last accessed on 13 Jan 2020)
[21]H. Zhu, Z. Sun, M. Chen, H. Cao,K. Li, Y. Cai, F. Wang, Highly porous composite based on tungsten carbide and N-doped carbon aerogels for electrocatalyzing oxygen reduction reaction in acidic and alkaline media, Electrochim. Acta 236 (2017) 154–160.
[22]W. Yuan, C. Hou, X. Zhang, S. Zhong, Z. Luo, D. Mo, Y. Zhang, X. Liu, Constructing cathode catalyst layer of a passive direct methanol FC with highly hydrophilic carbon aerogel for improved water management, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 11 (2019)37626-37634.
[23]H.Zhu, Z. Guo, X. Zhang, K.Han, Y. Guo, F. Wang, Z. Wang, Y. Wei, Methanol-tolerant carbon aerogel-supported Pt–Au catalysts for direct methanol FC, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy37 (2012) 873–876.
[24]S. Bong, D. Han, Mesopore-controllable carbon aerogel and their highly loaded PtRu anode electrocatalyst for DMFC applications, Electroanalysis 32 (2019) 104-111.
[25]W. Xia, C. Qu, Z. Liang, B. Zhao, S. Dai, B.Qiu, Y. Jiao, Q. Zhang, X. Huang, W.Guo, D. Dang, R. Zou, D. Xia, Q. Xu, M. Liu, High-performance energy storage and conversion materials derived from a single metal–organic framework/graphene aerogel composite, Nano Lett. 17 (2017) 2788–2795.
[26]Y. Wang, L. Zou, Q. Huang, Z.Zou, H.Yang, 3D carbon aerogel-supported PtNi intermetallic nanoparticles with high metal loading as a durable oxygen reduction electrocatalyst, Int.J. Hydrogen Energy 42 (2017) 26695–26703.
[27]W. Yuan, X. Zhang, Y. Zhang, X. Liu, Improved anode two-phase mass transfer management of direct methanol FC by the application of graphene aerogel, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 7 (2019)11653-11661.
[28]S. Zhao, H. Yin, L. Du, G. Yin, Z. Tang, S. Liu, Three dimensional N-doped graphene/PtRu nanoparticle hybrids as high performance anode for direct methanol FCs, J. Mater. Chem. A 2 (2014) 3719-3724.
[29]J.Duan, X. Zhang, W. Yuan, H. Chen, S. Jiang, X.Liu, Y. Zhang, L. Chang, Z. Sun,J. Du, Graphene oxide aerogel-supported Pt electrocatalysts for methanol oxidation, J. Power Sources 285 (2015) 76–79.
[30]M. Liu, C. Peng, W. Yang, J. Guo, Y. Zheng, P. Chen, T. Huang, J. Xu, Pd nanoparticles supported on three-dimensional graphene aerogels as highly efficient catalysts for methanol electrooxidation, Electrochim. Acta 178 (2015) 838–846.
[31]L. Zhao, Z.B. Wang, J.L. Li, J.J. Zhang, X.L. Sui, L.M. Zhang, Hybrid of carbon-supported Pt nanoparticles and 3Dgraphene aerogel as high stable electrocatalyst for methanol electrooxidation, Electrochim. Acta 189 (2016) 175–183.
[32]X. Zhang, N. Hao, X. Dong, S. Chen, Z. Zhou, Y. Zhang, K. Wang, One-pot hydrothermal synthesis of platinum nanoparticle-decorated three-dimensional nitrogen-doped graphene aerogel as a highly efficient electrocatalyst for methanol oxidation, RSC Adv. 6 (2016) 69973–69976.
[33]X. Peng, D. Chen, X. Yang, D. Wang, M. Li, C.C. Tseng, R.Panneerselvam, X. Wang, W. Hu, J. Tian, Y. Zhao, Microwave-assisted synthesis of highly dispersed PtCu nanoparticles on three-dimensional nitrogen-doped graphene networks with remarkably enhanced methanol electrooxidation,ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces8(2016)33673–33680.
[34]L. Zhao, X.L. Sui, J.L. Li, J.J. Zhang, L.M.Zhang, Z.B. Wang, Ultra-fine Pt nanoparticles supported on 3D porous N-doped graphene aerogel as a promising electro-catalyst for methanol electrooxidation, Catal. Commun. 86 (2016) 46–50.
[35]Y.H. Kwok, Y.F. Wang, A.C.H. Tsang, D.Y.C. Leung, Ru@Pt core shell nanoparticle on graphene carbon nanotube composite aerogel as a flow through anode for direct methanol microfluidic FC, Energy Procedia 142 (2017) 1522–1527.
[36]H. Huang, J. Zhu, D. Li, C. Shen, M. Li, X.Zhang, Q. Jiang, J. Zhang, Y. Wu, Pt nanoparticles grown on 3D RuO2-modified graphene architectures for highly efficient methanol oxidation, J. Mater. Chem. A 5 (2017)4560–4567.
[37]Y.H. Kwok, A.C.H. Tsang, Y.Wang, D.Y.C. Leung, Ultra-fine Pt nanoparticles on graphene aerogel as a porous electrode with high stability for microfluidic methanol FC, J. Power Sources 349 (2017) 75–83.
[38]L.M. Zhang, X.L. Sui, L. Zhao, G.S. Huang, D.M. Gu, Z.B. Wang, Three-dimensional hybrid aerogels built from graphene and polypyrrole-derived nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes as a high-efficiency Pt-based catalyst support, Carbon 121 (2017) 518–526.
[39]Y. Zhou, X.C.Hu, S. Guo, C. Yu, S.Zhong, X. Liu, Multi-functional graphene/carbon nanotube aerogels for its applications in supercapacitor and direct methanol FC, Electrochim. Acta 264 (2018) 12–19.
[40]M. Yan, Q. Jiang, T. Zhang, J. Wang, L. Yang, Z. Lu, H. He, Y. Fu, X. Wang, H. Huang, Three-dimensional low-defect carbon nanotube/nitrogen-doped graphene hybrid aerogel-supported Pt nanoparticles as efficient electrocatalysts toward methanol oxidation reaction, J. Mater. Chem. A 6(2018)18165-18172.
[41]X.-L. Sui, L.M. Zhang, L. Zhao, D.M. Gu, G.S. Huang, Z.-B. Wang, Nitrogen-doped graphene aerogel with an open structure assisted by in-situ hydrothermal restructuring of ZIF-8 as excellent Pt catalyst support for methanol electro-oxidation, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 43(2018)21899-21907.
[42]M. Li, Q. Jiang, M. Yan, Y. Wei, J.Zong, J. Zhang, Y. Wu,H. Huang, Three-Dimensional boron- and nitrogen-codoped graphene aerogel-supported Pt nanoparticles as highly active electrocatalysts for methanol oxidation reaction, ACS sustain. 6 (2018) 6644–6653.
[43]X. Liu, J. Xi, B.B. Xu, B. Fang, Y. Wang, M.Bayati, K. Scott, C. Gao, A High-performance direct methanol FC technology enabled by mediating high-concentration methanol through a graphene aerogel, Small methods 2(2018) 1800138.
[44]X. Zhang, L.Zhou, Y.Whang, J. Tang, J. Li, Facile synthesis of holey graphene-supported Pt catalysts for direct methanol electro-oxidation, Microporous Mesoporous Mater.247(2017)116-123.
[45]Z. Xu, Y. Zhang, Y. Wang, L. Zhan, Flower-like nanostructured V3S4 grown on three-dimensional porous graphene aerogel for efficient oxygen reduction reaction, App. Surf. Sci. 450 (2018) 348–355.
[46]Q.Xue, Y. Ding, Y.Xue, F. Li,P. Chen, Y.Chen, 3D nitrogen-doped graphene aerogels as efficient electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction, Carbon 139 (2018) 137–144.
[47]G. Ozouf, C. Beauger, Niobium- and antimony-doped tin dioxide aerogels as new catalyst supports for PEM FCs, J. Mater. Sci. 51 (2016) 5305–5320.
[48]W. Yuan, C. Hou, X. Zhang, S. Zhong, Z. Luo, D. Mo, Y. Zhang,X. Liu, Constructing cathode catalyst layer of a passive direct methanol FC with highly hydrophilic carbon aerogel for improved water management, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 11 (2019) 37626-37634.
[49]L. Zhao,X.-L. Sui, J.Z. Li, J.J. Zhang, L.M. Zhang,G.S. Huang, Z.B. Wang,Supramolecular assembly promoted synthesis of three-dimensional nitrogen doped graphene frameworks as efficient electrocatalyst for oxygen reduction reaction and methanol electrooxidation, Appl. Catal. 231 (2018) 224–233.
[50]M.S. Çögenli, A.B. Yurtcan,Heteroatom doped 3D graphene aerogel supported catalysts for formic acid and methanol oxidation, Int J. Hydrogen Energy 45 (2019) 650-666.
[51]R. Singh, M.K. Singh, S. Bhartiya, A. Singh, D.K. Kohli, P.C. Ghosh, S. Meenakshi, P.K. Gupta, Facile synthesis of highly conducting and mesoporous carbon aerogel as platinum support for PEM FCs, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 42 (2016) 11110–11117.
[52]S. Wei, D. Wu, X. Shang,R. Fu, Studies on the structure and electrochemical performance of Pt/Carbon aerogel catalyst for direct methanol FCs, Energy Fuels 23 (2009) 908–911.
[53]P. Kolla, K. Kerce, Y. Normah, H. Fong, A. Smirnova, Metal oxides modified mesoporous carbon supports as anode catalysts in DMFC, ECS Trans. 45 (2013) 35–45.
[54]C.I. Fort, L.C. Cotet, F.Vasiliu, P.Marginean, V.Danciu, I.C. Popescu,Methanol oxidation at carbon paste electrodes modified with (Pt–Ru)/carbon aerogels nanocomposites,Mater. Chem. Phys.172 (2016) 179–188.
[55]W. Liu, A.K. Herrmann, D. Geiger,L. Borchardt,F. Simon,S.Kaskel, N.Gaponik, A.Eychmüller, Ahigh-performance electrocatalysis on palladium aerogels, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 51 (2012) 5743–5747.
[56]S.S.Jayaseelan, S. Radhakrishnan,B.Saravanakumar, M.K.Seo, M.S. Khil, H.Y.Kim, B.S. Kim,Novel MWCNT interconnected NiCo2O4 aerogels prepared by a supercritical CO2 drying method for ethanol electrooxidation in alkaline media, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 41 (2016) 13504–13512.
[57]S.Shahgaldi, J. Hamelin, Improved carbon nanostructures as a novel catalyst support in the cathode side of PEMFC: a critical review, Carbon 94 (2015) 705–728.
[58]L.Zuo, Y. Zhang, L. Zhang, Y.E. Miao,W.Fan,T. Liu, Polymer/carbon-based hybrid aerogels: preparation, properties and applications, Materials (Basel, Switzerland) 8 (2015) 6806–6848.