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Current challenges related to the deployment of shape-controlled Pt alloy oxygen reduction reaction nanocatalysts into low Pt-loaded cathode layers of proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Pan, Lujin; Ott, Sebastian; Dionigi, Fabio; Strasser, Peter

The reduction of the amount of platinum used in proton exchange membrane fuel cell cathodes at constant power density helps lower the cell stack cost of fuel cell electric vehicles. Recent screening studies using the thin film rotating disk electrode technique have identified an ever-growing number of Pt-based nanocatalysts with oxygen reduction reaction Ptmass activities that allow for a substantial projected decrease in the geometric platinum loading at the cathode layer. However, the step from a rotating disk electrode test to a membrane electrode assembly test has proved a formidable task. The deployment of advanced, often shape-controlled dealloyed Pt alloy nanocatalysts in actual cathode layers of proton exchange membrane fuel cells has remained extremely challenging with respect to their actual catalytic activity under hydrogen/oxygen flow, their hydrogen/air performance at high current densities, and their morphological stability under prolonged fuel cell operations. In this review, we discuss some of these challenges, yet also propose possible solutions to understand the challenges and to eventually unfold the full potential of advanced Pt-based alloy oxygen reduction reaction catalysts in fuel cell electrode layers.
Published in: Current Opinion in Electrochemistry, 10.1016/j.coelec.2019.10.011, Elsevier