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Hydrophobic, carbon free gas diffusion electrode for alkaline applications

: Bekisch, Artur; Skadell, Karl; Poppitz, David; Schulz, Matthias; Weidl, Roland; Stelter, Michael

Fulltext ()

Journal of the Electrochemical Society 167 (2020), No.14, Art. 144502, 11 pp.
ISSN: 0013-4651
ISSN: 1945-7111
ISSN: 0096-4786
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IKTS ()
nickel mesh; manganese oxide; Gas Diffusion Electrode

In this work we present a carbon free gas diffusion electrode (GDE) design. It is a first step towards improvement of technologies like alkaline fuel cells, some alkaline electrolyzes and metal-air-batteries by circumventing carbon degradation. A nickel-mesh was made hydrophobic and subsequently electrochemically coated with MnOx as electrocatalyst. By this, a carbon free GDE was prepared. The contact angle, specific surface area (BET), pore size distribution, crystal phase (XRD) and electrochemical properties were determined. The deposition scan rate (r scan) during dynamic MnOx deposition altered the macro surface structure, pore size distribution and deposited mass. High catalyst masses with high specific surface area were achieved by lower r scan, but hydrophobicity was decreased. Impedance spectroscopy showed that higher MnOx mass will increase the ohmic resistance, because of the low conductivity of oxides, such as MnOx. The diffusion of dissolved oxygen is the major contributor to the total resistance. However, the polarization resistance was reduced by increased specific surface area of MnOx. It was concluded that the ORR and OER are limited by diffusion in this design but nevertheless showed reasonable activity for ±10 mA cm−2 corresponding to ~8 Ω cm−2 while references exhibited ~3.5 Ω cm−2.