Assessing Utilization Boundaries for Pt-based Catalysts in an Operating PEMFC

20 April 2023, Version 1


Octahedra (oh) PtNiX/C catalysts have attracted attention as cathode catalysts for proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) due to their exceptional catalytic activities toward the oxygen reduction reaction. Here, we investigate the degradation dynamics of oh-PtNiIr in fuel cell conditions by operando X-ray diffraction (XRD). Two XRD-coupled square-wave accelerated stress tests (0.6 to 0.95) V and (0.7 to 0.95) V (where V is the cell voltage) confirm that, when fixing the upper limit, the dissolution and overall degradation strongly depend on the lower potential limit. By directly observing the extent of metal oxidation during potential cycling, we link the alloy redox dynamics to the stability. The studied catalysts' stability is proportional to both the extent of metal oxidation and, more interestingly, the degree of reduction. Comparing a benchmark Pt catalyst with oh-PtNiIr allows for associating the differences between oxidation and reduction potentials and the optimal usage window for each class of catalysts. This relatively simple method can be employed to find the operation boundaries of the PEMFC to minimize the degradation of a large class of Pt-based catalysts without time-consuming stress tests.


PtNiX/C catalysts
degradation dynamics
operando X-ray diffraction
proton-exchange membrane fuel cells

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
oh-PtNiIr faster kinetics and microstrain, and experimental methods


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