Loading Impact of a PGM-Free Catalyst on the Mass Activity in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Ana Marija Damjanovic, Burak Koyutürk, Yan Sheng Li, Davide Menga, Christian Eickes, Hany A. El-Sayed, Hubert A. Gasteiger, Tim Patrick Fellinger, Michele Piana

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12 Scopus citations


Platinum-group-metal-free (PGM-free) catalysts are currently considered as potential oxygen-reduction-reaction (ORR) catalysts to replace costly and supply-limited platinum at the cathode side of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Extensive research efforts have led to substantial progress with regards to the ORR activity of PGM-free ORR catalysts, but there is uncertainty about the dependence of the mass activity on the catalyst loading. In this study, the effect of catalyst loading on the mass activity is investigated by means of rotating disk electrode measurements as well as single cell PEMFC tests using a commercial PGM-free ORR catalyst. Single cell tests with a wide range of loadings (0.4-4.0 mgcat cm-2MEA) are compared to rotating disk electrode measurements with low loadings of 40-600 µgcat cm-2disk. In contrast to indications in the literature that the ORR activity depends on catalyst loading, our results reveal an independence of the ORR mass activity from the catalysts loading in both RDE and PEMFC tests, if corrections for the voltage losses in H2/O2 single cell tests are considered. Moreover, no clear relation of the stability to the catalyst loading was found in H2/O2 PEMFCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114518
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


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