The University of British Columbia Background
Advanced electrochemical-based technologies such as proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and electrolyzers, have long been considered to be among the most promising next-generation energy conversion systems. However, the widespread commercialization of these technologies remains challenging due to the high costs associated with the cell components such as catalyst coated membranes and the required test stations. This has created a need for a lab-scale electroanalytical tool that is low cost and easy to setup, capable of providing comparable electrocatalyst characterization results to PEM-based measurements.
UBC researchers have developed a novel electroanalytical tool capable of characterizing insulating materials (e.g., catalyst coated membrane) at front face contact. This tool is compatible with rotating disk electrode hardware which is readily available and is able to use the as-received commercial catalyst layers (i.e., catalyst-coated membranes) that is used in a PEM-based testing routine. Mass and specific activities of electrocatalysts can be determined in bench-top electrochemical cells. Mass activities of the catalysts measured by the UBC tool and using CCM samples, are in closer agreement with those of the PEMFC measurements compared to the commonly used thin-film rotating disk electrode technique. The technique can be used for electrochemical characterization of any electroactive layer deposited on conductive or non-conductive substrate.
Kwan et. al. Electrochem. Act. 2017 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2017.10.087
Kroschel et. al. Electrochem. Act. 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2019.05.011
Petzoldt et al. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2021 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1149/1945-7111/abde7d
Characterization of catalyst coated membranes (CCMs) for fuel cells and electrolyzers
Compatible with conventional rotating disk electrode (RDE) set up