Cost-effective and durable Ru-sputtered Pt/C-based membrane-electrode assembly for passive direct methanol fuel cells

Wonyeop Jeong1, Ikwhang Chang1, Sangbong Ryu, Chunhua Zheng, Suk Won Cha#, Taehyun Park#

The present study demonstrates and evaluates the catalytic durability of ruthenium (Ru)-sputtered Pt/C-based membrane–electrode assembly (MEA) for passive direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Sputtering of Ru onto the Pt/C catalyst layer on the electrolyte membrane reduces the use of Ru by more than 80% compared with conventional Pt-Ru/C (50:50 wt.%)-based MEAs. The Ru-sputtered MEA exhibited a high catalytic durability even when a high concentration of methanol (4 M) was used as fuel. In addition to the marked improvement in the catalytic durability, an increased performance was observed with passive DMFCs using Ru-sputtered MEAs. The results of the present study suggest that the new MEA fabrication method based on Ru-sputtered Pt/C considerably enhanced both the performance and durability of the cell while reducing the cost involved in fabrication. Furthermore, this study suggests ways to expand conventional MEAs for hydrogen fuel cells to the level of DMFCs.