Influence of Air Impurities on the Performance of Nanostructured PEMFC Catalysts

  • Olga A. Baturina
  • Boris Dyatkin
  • Tatyana V. Reshetenko


This chapter provides an overview of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) performance issues that stem from exposure to airborne pollutants. The PEMFCs must adapt to various functional environments and operate within well-established air quality thresholds in order to become commercially viable. Ambient air is the most convenient oxidant for PEMFCs; however, it may contain various contaminants that can cause significant performance loss in these energy conversion systems. The discussion focuses on the effects of organic and inorganic impurities on nanostructured electrocatalysts, such as Pt and novel material alternatives. This chapter compares different contamination mechanisms, electrochemically driven impurity evolution and transformation on catalyst nanoparticles, and the effects of these processes on the oxygen reduction reaction and PEMFCs’ subsequent performance. Finally, the chapter highlights possible PEMFC performance recovery and contaminant mitigation strategies. The discussion presents an overview of the experimental and computational approaches and efforts to reconcile observed performance with phenomenological modeling.


PEMFC Airborne contaminants Oxygen reduction reaction Nanostructured catalyst Pt catalysts PGM-free catalysts 



This work is supported by the Office of Naval Research (N00014-12-1-0496) and the Department of Energy (DE-EE0000467). B. Dyatkin (B.D.) is supported by the National Research Council (NRC) Research Associateship Program (RAP). The authors also gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments and suggestions of the reviewers. The authors thank the editors for allowing us to review our previously published papers [8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 30, 75, 76, 78].


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga A. Baturina
    • 1
  • Boris Dyatkin
    • 1
  • Tatyana V. Reshetenko
    • 2
  1. 1.Naval Research LaboratoryWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Hawaii Natural Energy InstituteUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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