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New Platinum Alloy Catalysts for Oxygen Electroreduction Based on Alkaline Earth Metals


The energy efficiency of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells is mainly limited by overpotentials related to the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). In this paper, we present new platinum alloys which are active for the ORR and based on alloying Pt with very abundant elements, such as Ca. Theoretical calculations suggested that Pt5Ca and Pt5Sr should be active for the ORR. Electrochemical measurements show that the activity of sputter-cleaned polycrystalline Pt5Ca and Pt5Sr electrodes is enhanced by a factor of 5–7 relative to polycrystalline Pt. Accelerated stability testing shows that after 10,000 electrochemical cycles, the alloys still retain over half their activity. The stability is thus not quite on par with the similar Pt-lanthanide alloys, possibly due to the somewhat lower heat of formation.

Left: The structure of Pt5Ca with a compressed Pt overlayer. The compression increases activity for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR). Right: The measured ORR activity of the best Platinum alloys.

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We gratefully acknowledge the EU FP7’s initiative Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking’s project CathCat (GA 303492), as well as the Danish Strategic Research’s project NACORR (12-133817), for funding this work. This work was supported by a research grant (9455) from the VILLUM FONDEN. M.E.-E. is the recipient of a Sapere Aude: DFF- Research Talent grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research. U.G.V.-H. and J.S. have received funding through grant 1335-00027B from the Danish Council for Independent Research. We thank C. D. Damsgaard for assistance in setting up the XRD measurements.

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U. G. Vej-Hansen and M. Escudero-Escribano contributed equally to this work.

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Vej-Hansen, U.G., Escudero-Escribano, M., Velázquez-Palenzuela, A. et al. New Platinum Alloy Catalysts for Oxygen Electroreduction Based on Alkaline Earth Metals. Electrocatalysis 8, 594–604 (2017).

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  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • Platinum alloys
  • Alkaline earths