Kinetics and Kinetically Limited Performance in PEMFCs and DMFCs with State-of-the-Art Catalysts

  • H. A. Gasteiger
  • Y. Liu
  • D. Baker
  • W. Gu
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)

Over the past 10 years, extensive R&D efforts to optimize H2/air-fed proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) performance resulted in power densities near 1 W/cm2 at ≈0.6 V and much reduced MEA (membrane electrode assembly) platinum loadings of ≈0.45 mgPt/cm2 MEA. These accomplishments were largely driven by the implementation of thin membranes (≈25 μm), highly conductive bipolar plate materials/coatings, and empirical improvements in electrode design. In order to close the remaining performance gap for automotive applications, it is critical to quantify the various voltage losses in state-of-the-art H2/air MEAs, as this will enable more targeted future MEA materials and design development.

Similarly, much progress has been made in materials and engineering design of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), and it is instrumental to deconvolute materials related losses (catalyst activity and ohmic resistances) from mass-transport related losses. This analysis will again enable the determination of performance gains which can be made by either MEA materials or MEA design improvements.

Thus, this paper will review the activity of currently known anode and cathode catalysts in H2/air PEMFCs and DMFCS. Using these well-known kinetics, an analysis of the various voltage loss contributions will be conducted in order to determine the impact of mass transport losses and proton conduction losses, with the hope of being able to provide a clear focus on future development needs with regards to materials development and MEA engineering optimization.


Fuel Cell Oxygen Reduction Reaction Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Exchange Current Density 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    H.A. Gasteiger, S.S. Kocha, B. Sompalli, and F.T. Wagner, Activity Benchmarks and Requirements for Pt, Pt-Alloy, and Non-Pt Oxygen Reduction Catalysts for Pemfcs, Appl. Catal. B 56, 9 (2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. Piela and P. Zelenay, Researchers Redefine The DMFC Roadmap, The Fuel Cell Review Aug./Sept., 17 (2004).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    H.A. Gasteiger, W. Gu, R. Makharia, M.F. Mathias, and B. Sompalli, ‘Beginning-of-Life MEA performance-efficiency loss contributions’, in: Handbook of Fuel Cells: Fundamentals, Technology, and Applications, edited by W. Vielstich, A. Lamm, and H.A. Gasteiger (Wiley, Chichester, 2003), vol. 3, pp. 593-610.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    K.C. Neyerlin, W. Gu, J. Jorne, A. Clark (jr.), and H.A. Gasteiger, Cathode Catalyst Utilization for the ORR in a PEMFC Analytical Model and Experimental Validation, J. Electrochem. Soc. 154, B279 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Y. Liu, M. Murphy, D. Baker, W. Gu, C. Ji, J. Jorne, and H.A. Gasteiger, Determination of Electrode Sheet Resistance in Cathode Catalyst Layer by AC Impedance, ECS Trans. 11 (1), 473 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    K.C. Neyerlin, W. Gu, J. Jorne, and H.A. Gasteiger, Study of the Exchange Current Density for the Hydrogen Oxidation and Evolution Reactions, J. Electrochem. Soc. 154, B631 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    K.C. Neyerlin, W. Gu, J. Jorne, and H.A. Gasteiger, Determination of Catalyst Unique Parameters for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction in a PEMFC, J. Electrochem. Soc. 153, A1955 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    J.S. Newman, Electrochemical Systems (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1991).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    F.T. Wagner, H.A. Gasteiger, R. Makharia, K.C. Neyerlin, E.L. Thompson, and S.G. Yan, Catalyst Development Needs and Pathways for Automotive PEM Fuel Cells, ECS Trans. 3 (1), 19 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    D. Thompsett, ‘Pt Alloys as Oxygen Reduction Catalysts’, in: Handbook of Fuel Cell, edited by W. Vielstich, A. Lamm, and H.A. Gasteiger (Wiley, NY, 2003), vol. 3, pp. 467-480.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    V.R. Stamenković, B. Fowler, B.S. Mun, G. Wang, P.N. Ross, C.A. Lucas, and N.M. Marković, Improved Oxygen Reduction Activity on Pt3Ni(111) via Increased Surface Site Availability, Science 315, 493 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. Srivastava, P. Mani, N. Hahn, and P. Strasser, Efficient Oxygen Reduction Fuel Cell Electrocatalysis on Voltammetrically Dealloyed Pt-Cu-Co Nanoparticles, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 46, 1 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    C.C. Boyer, R.G. Anthony, and A. J. Appleby, Design equations for optimized PEM fuel cell electrodes, J. App. Electrochem. 30, 777 (2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    G. Li and P.G. Pickup, Ionic Conductivity of PEMFC Electrodes Effect of Nafion Loading, J. Electrochem. Soc. 150, C745 (2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    E.L. Thompson, W. Gu, J. Jorne, and H.A. Gasteiger, Oxygen Reduction Reaction Kinetics in Subfreezing PEM Fuel Cells, J. Electrochem. Soc. 154 (8), B783-B792 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    T.E. Springer, T.A. Zawodzinski, and S. Gottesfeld, Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Model, J. Electrochem. Soc. 138, 2334 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    X. Ye and C.Y. Wang, Measurement of Water Transport Properties Through Membrane-Electrode Assemblies, I. Membranes, J. Electrochem. Soc. 154, B676 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    D. Baker, C. Wieser, K.C. Neyerlin, and M.W. Murphy, The Use of Limiting Current to Determine Transport Resistance in PEM Fuel Cells, ECS Trans. 3 (1), 989 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    M.P. Hogarth and T.R. Ralph, Catalysis for Low Temperature Fuel Cells, Part 111: Challenges for the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell, Platinum Metals Rev. 46, 146 (2002).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    S.C. Thomas, X. Ren, S. Gottesfeld, and P. Zelenay, Direct Methanol Fuel Cells: Progress in Cell Performance and Cathode Research, Electrochim. Acta 47, 3741 (2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    R. Dillon, S. Srinivasan, A.S. Aricò, and V. Antonucci, International Activities in DMFC R&D: Status of Technologies and Potential Applications, J. Power Sources 127, 112 (2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    M. Baldauf and W. Preidel, Status of the Development of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell, J. Power Sources 84, 161 (1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    H.A. Gasteiger and J. Garche, ‘Fuel Cells’, in: Handbook of Heterogeneous Catalysis (2nd edn), edited by G. Ertl, H. Knözinger, F. Schüth, and J. Weitkamp (Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, 2008), in press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    J. Nordlund and G. Lindbergh, Temperature-Dependent Kinetics of the Anode in the DMFC, J. Electrochem. Soc. 151, A1357 (2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    H.A. Gasteiger, N.M. Marković, P.N. Ross (Jr.), and E.J. Cairns, Temperature-Dependent Methanol Electro-Oxidation on Well-Characterized Pt-Ru Alloys, J. Electrochem. Soc. 141, 1795 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    S.S. Sandhu, R.O. Crowther, S.C. Krishnan, and J.P. Fellner, Direct Methanol Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Modeling: Reversible Open-Circuit Voltage and Species Flux Equations, Electrochim. Acta 48, 2295 (2003).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    M.F. Mathias, R. Makharia, H.A. Gasteiger, J.J. Conley, T.J. Fuller, C.J. Gittleman, S.S. Kocha, D.P. Miller, C.K. Mittelsteadt, T. Xie, S.G. Yan, and P.T. Yu, Two Fuel Cell Cars in Every Garage? Interface (The Electrochemical Society, 2005), 14, pp. 24-35.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Gasteiger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Baker
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Gu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Acta S.p.A.CrespinaItaly
  2. 2.Fuel Cell ActivitiesGeneral Motors CorporationHoneoye FallsUSA

Personalised recommendations