The internal resistances of fuel cells strongly affect the generated power. Basically, in the fuel cell, the anode can be prepared by deposition of a film from the functional electrocatalyst on a proper gas diffusion layer. Accordingly, an interfacial resistance for the electron transport is created between the two layers. Electrocatalyst-functionalized gas diffusion layer (GDL) can distinctly reduce the interfacial resistance between the catalyst layer and the GDL. In this study, NiMn nanoparticles-decorated carbon felt is introduced as functionalized GDL to be exploited as a ready-made anode in a direct urea fuel cell. The proposed treated GDL was prepared by calcination of nickel acetate/manganese acetate-loaded carbon felt under an argon atmosphere at 850°C. The physiochemical characterizations confirmed complete reduction for the utilized precursors and deposition of pristine NiMn nanoparticles on the carbon felt fiber. In passive direct urea fuel cells, investigation the performance of the functionalized GDLs indicated that the composition of the metal nanoparticles has to be optimized as the GDL obtained from 40 wt % manganese acetate reveals the maximum generated power density; 36 mW/m2 at room temperature and 0.5 M urea solution. Moreover, the electrochemical measurements proved that low urea solution concentration is preferred as utilizing 0.5 M solution resulted into generating higher power compared to 1.0 and 2.0 M solution. Overall, this study opens a new avenue toward functionalization of the GDL as a novel strategy to overcome the interfacial resistance between the electrocatalyst and the GDL.
Barakat, N. A. M., Alajami, M., Ghouri, Z. K., & Al-Meer, S. (2018). Effective NiMn nanoparticles-functionalized carbon felt as an effective anode for direct urea fuel cells. Nanomaterials, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8050338