Ni2P enhances the activity and durability of the Pt anode catalyst in direct methanol fuel cells
Pt is the state-of-the-art anode catalyst in direct methanol fuel cells. Here we report that Ni2P promotes the activity and stability of Pt in electrochemical methanol oxidation. Nanoparticles of Ni2P and Pt were co-deposited on a carbon support and their activity in electrochemical methanol oxidation was measured by cyclic voltammetry. Among all Pt-Ni2P/C catalysts, the sample with a 30 wt% loading of Ni2P exhibits the highest electrochemical surface area and activity. The activity of the Pt-Ni2P/C-30% catalyst is significantly higher than that of Pt/C, Ni-promoted Pt/C, and P-promoted Pt/C catalysts, revealed by cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Accordingly to X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, there is a partial electron transfer from Ni2P to Pt, which might be an origin of the enhanced catalytic activity of the Pt/Ni2P bimetallic catalyst. The Pt- Ni2P/C-30% was integrated into a direct methanol fuel cell; this fuel cell exhibits a maximum power density of 65 mW cm(-2), more than twice of that of an analogous fuel cell using Pt/C as the anode catalyst. The Pt-Ni2P/C-30%- integrated direct methanol fuel cell has also the highest discharge stability among a series of fuel cells with different Pt-based anode catalysts.