The preparation of catalyst electrodes by electrodeposition for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) has been studied. This work looks at the potential to apply the electrodeposition technique, in the forms of direct current (DC) and pulse plating electrodepositions, to prepare Pt and Pt–Co alloy catalysts for membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). The preparation of the non-catalyst layer was found to be important for the electrodeposition of Pt catalysts. The activities of the electrodeposited catalysts, both pure Pt and Pt–Co alloy, produced by pulse plating are substantially higher than that of the Pt catalyst produced by DC electrodeposition. The improvement in electroactivity towards the ORR of the electrodeposited catalysts produced by pulse plating is likely due to the finer structures of electrodeposited catalysts which contain smaller catalyst particles compared to those produced by DC electrodeposition. A maximum performance towards the ORR in PEMFCs was achieved from the catalysts prepared by pulse plating using a charge density of 2 C cm−2, a pulse current density of 200 mA cm−2, a 5% duty cycle and a pulse frequency of 1 Hz.
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The authors express their gratitude to the Center for Petroleum, Petrochemicals and Advanced Materials, the Office of the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), and the Graduate School of Chulalongkorn University for financial support during the course of this study.