Quantifying the electrochemical active site density of precious metal-free catalysts in situ in fuel cellsLatest updated: November 22, 2023
Authors: Rifael Z. Snitkoff-Sol, Ariel Friedman, Hilah C. Honig, Yan Yurko, Alisa Kozhushner, Michael J. Zachman, Piotr Zelenay, Alan M. Bond & Lior Elbaz
Advances in the development of precious-group metal-free (PGM-free) catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cell cathodes have produced active catalysts that reduce the performance gap to the incumbent Pt-based materials. However, utilization of state-of-the-art PGM-free catalysts for commercial applications is currently impeded by their relatively low durability. Methods designed to study catalyst degradation in the operation of fuel cells are therefore critical for understanding durability issues and, ultimately, their solutions. Here we report the use of Fourier-transform alternating current voltammetry as an electrochemical method for accurate quantification of the electrochemically active site density of PGM-free cathode catalysts, and to follow their degradation in situ during the operation of polymer electrolyte fuel cells. Using this method, we were able to quantify the electrochemical active site density, which will enable the elucidation of degradation mechanisms of PGM-free ORR catalysts in situ in fuel cells.