Solution combustion synthesized ceria or alumina supported Pt as cathode electrocatalyst for PEM fuel cells

Muralidhar Chourashiya*, Saso Gyergyek, Shuang Ma Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Current status of the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell (FC) technology, exhibited its penetration in the commercial market of electric vehicles; however, it is lacking the factor of a long lifetime due to the fact that its cathode catalysts are prone to degradation and requires immediate attention. In this investigation, we propose a synthesis strategy where oxides will act as support for Pt catalyst and optimize the mixing of high-surface-area (HSA) and porous support with Pt to achieve a sufficient electrical conductivity in resultant Pt/support mix. The use of durable HSA oxides as support instead of HSA carbon will avoid the degradation issue. By varying the preparative parameter of the solution combustion synthesis method, we successfully synthesized Pt supported on cerium oxide (ceria) and Pt supported on aluminum oxide (alumina) samples with different Pt loadings. Among Pt/ceria and Pt/alumina composite samples, 80 wt% Pt on ceria and 90 wt% Pt on alumina showed relatively better mass-specific activity (MSA) of 52 mA/cm2and 85 mA/cm2, respectively and are far less than that of commercial reference catalyst (BASFMSA = 143 mA/cm2 and HiSpec9100MSA = 169 mA/cm2). Durability investigation on Pt/alumina composite showed that as the Pt loading is increased, up to 70 wt% Pt on alumina, the catalyst showed improvements instead of degradation while as Pt wt.% increased further, i.e. 80 wt% or 90 wt% Pt on alumina, the degradation curve followed the trend of that of commercial reference electrocatalysts. Finally, when microstructural features are compared to a reported catalyst with similar features, which was used for PEM based electrolyzer, it is concluded that to realize true performance, it is necessary to evaluate the synthesized catalyst in a fuel cell instead of characterizing it with thin-film rotating disk electrode (TF-RDE) technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122444
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
Publication statusPublished - 15. Feb 2020


  • AST
  • Electrochemistry
  • ESA
  • Fuel cell cathode
  • MSA
  • Oxide supported Pt
  • Solution combustion
  • TF-RDE


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