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Vitalizing Fuel Cells with Vitamins: Pyrolyzed Vitamin B12 as a Non-precious Catalyst for Enhanced Oxygen Reduction Reaction of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells


Graphical abstract: Vitalizing fuel cells with vitamins: pyrolyzed vitamin B12 as a non-precious catalyst for enhanced oxygen reduction reaction of polymer electrolyte fuel cells

The limited natural abundance and high cost of Pt has been a major barrier in its applications for hydrogen or methanol fuel cells. In this work, based on the pyrolyzed corrin structure of vitamin B12 (py-B12/C), it is reported to produce superior catalytic activity in the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) with an electron transfer number of 3.90, which is very close to the ideal case of 4. The H2–O2 fuel cell using py-B12/C provides a maximum power density of 370 mW cm−2 and a current density of 0.720 A cm−2 at 0.5 V at 70 °C. Calculations based on density functional theory suggests that the corrin complex with a low-symmetric structure offers a much preferable path for the ORR, which is not applicable to the porphyrin with a high-symmetric structure. The long-term stability and high ORR activity of py-B12/C make it a viable candidate as a Pt-substitute in the ORR.The research was conducted at the NSRRC beamline 17C1 and 01C2 .

S.-T. Chang, C.-H. Wang, H.-Y. Du, H.-C. Hsu, C.-M. Kang, C.-C. Chen, J. C. S. Wu, S.-C. Yen, W.-F. Huang, L.-C. Chen, M. C. Lin, and K.-H. Chen

Energy Environ. Sci. 5 , 5305 (2012)