Performance of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Electrodes with Atomically Dispersed (AD) Fe-C-N ORR Catalyst

Kenneth Neyerlin, Luigi Osmieri, R. Ahluwalia, X. Wang, J.-K. Peng, H. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus Citations


Activity of (AD)Fe-N-C catalyst with low Fe content is investigated in differential cells prepared by hot pressing anode gas diffusion electrodes (0.2 mgPt/cm2) to N211 membrane and brush painting the cathode catalyst ink. Polarization curves obtained in H2/O2 show double Tafel slopes which, in conjunction with the redox potential observed in cyclic voltammetry traces, forms the basis for a distributed ORR (oxygen reduction reaction) kinetic model with potential-dependent available sites. Application of this model to polarization data in H2/air provides the basis for formulating an oxygen transport model and leads to 7.7 ± 0.6 mA/cm2 catalyst activity at 0.9 V, 31.5–34.3 mA/cm2 cell performance at 0.8 V, and 0.8-2 s/cm O2 transport resistance. A coupled kinetic, O2 transport and proton transport illustrates the projected improvements needed in catalyst activity and electrode structure to approach the automotive target of 1000 mW/cm2 stack power density while meeting the 1.45 kW/°C heat rejection constraint at 1.5 cathode stoichiometry. The model indicates that we need twelve-fold higher mass activity for reducing the kinetic losses, doubling of active site density and an engineered electrode structure for 50% lower proton transport resistance, as well as a 50% reduction in electrode thickness to limit the O2 transport losses.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)F1096-F1104
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Electrochemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-75392


  • atomically dispersed
  • fuel cells
  • ORR catalyst activity
  • PEM
  • polymer electrolyte fuel cell


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