Improved Oxygen Reduction Reaction Catalyzed by Pt/Clay/Nafion Nanocomposite for PEM Fuel Cells

A novel Pt nanoparticle (Pt NP) embedded aminoclay/Nafion (Pt/AC/N) nanocomposite catalyst film was prepared for oxygen reduction reaction by sol–gel method. The prepared nanocomposite films were surface characterized using XRD and TEM and thermal stability was studied by TGA. The prepared film has firmly bound Pt NP and could exhibit an improved electro-reduction activity compared to vulcan carbon/Nafion supported Pt NP (Pt/VC/N). Moreover, the Pt/AC/N film possessed good stability in the acidic environment. The limiting current density of the Pt/AC/N film with 35.4 μg/cm2 of Pt loading was found to be 4.2 mA/cm2, which is 30% higher than that of the Pt/VC/N. The maximum H2O2 intermediate formation was found to be ∼1.6% and the reaction found to follow a four electron transfer mechanism. Accelerated durability test for 2000 potential cycles showed that ca. 78% of initial limiting current was retained. The results are encouraging for possible use of the Pt/AC/N as the free-standing electrocatalyst layer for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.