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Recent advancement of proton exchange membrane fuel cells has led to commercial sales of fuel-cell cars but market barrier exists because this technology heavily relies on platinum catalyst. Given the permission of adopting platinum-group-metal-free catalysts, anion-exchange membrane fuel cell has received notable attention. However, the sluggish kinetics of anodic hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) largely limit the cell efficiency. Although many high-performance HOR catalysts have been reported, there are analytical uncertainties in the literature concerning the assessment of the catalyst activity. Here we determine the origin of false HOR currents in the recorded polarization curves and propose a rigorous approach to eliminate them. We unveil experimentally the uncertainties of obtaining exchange current densities (j0) using Tafel plot from Bulter–Volmer equation and recommend employing the micro-polarization region method. For bulky catalysts that cannot establish a well-defined diffusion layer, we suggest applying external stirring bar to offer certain level of enforced convection and using j0 to compare the activity.


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Towards reliable assessment of hydrogen oxidation electrocatalysts for anion-exchange membrane fuel cells

Show Author's information Fei-Yue Gao,§Ye-Hua Wang,§Yu YangJie LiaoJing-Wen DuanMuXiao-Long ZhangZhuang-Zhuang NiuPeng-Peng YangMin-Rui Gao( )
Division of Nanomaterials & Chemistry, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, Department of Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China

§ Fei-Yue Gao and Ye-Hua Wang contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Recent advancement of proton exchange membrane fuel cells has led to commercial sales of fuel-cell cars but market barrier exists because this technology heavily relies on platinum catalyst. Given the permission of adopting platinum-group-metal-free catalysts, anion-exchange membrane fuel cell has received notable attention. However, the sluggish kinetics of anodic hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) largely limit the cell efficiency. Although many high-performance HOR catalysts have been reported, there are analytical uncertainties in the literature concerning the assessment of the catalyst activity. Here we determine the origin of false HOR currents in the recorded polarization curves and propose a rigorous approach to eliminate them. We unveil experimentally the uncertainties of obtaining exchange current densities (j0) using Tafel plot from Bulter–Volmer equation and recommend employing the micro-polarization region method. For bulky catalysts that cannot establish a well-defined diffusion layer, we suggest applying external stirring bar to offer certain level of enforced convection and using j0 to compare the activity.

Keywords: hydrogen oxidation reaction, platinum group metal-free catalysts, anion-exchange membrane fuel cell, kinetic analysis

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Publication history
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Acknowledgements

Publication history

Received: 15 March 2023
Revised: 28 April 2023
Accepted: 02 May 2023
Published: 31 May 2023
Issue date: August 2023

Copyright

© Tsinghua University Press 2023

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2018YFA0702001), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 22225901, 21975237, and 22175162), the Anhui Provincial Research and Development Program (No. 202004a05020073), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. WK2340000101), the USTC Research Funds of the Double First-Class Initiative (No. YD2340002007), and the Open Funds of the State Key Laboratory of Rare Earth Resource Utilization (No. RERU2022007).

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