Fast Screening of PEMFC-Catalysts with the Scanning Flow Cell

Fast Screening of PEMFC-Catalysts with the Scanning Flow Cell

Schematic illustration of the Scanning Flow Cell (SFC)
Picture of the Scanning Flow Cell

Electrocatalysts play an important role in sustainable energy-related fields. As these catalysts still require improvement on activity and stability, a lot of effort is invested in developing new materials. Due to the enormous parameter space spanned by material composition and experimental conditions, there is a great demand for high-throughput screening of the material performance.

To address this issue, the scanning flow cell (SFC), which was originally developed for corrosion studies, has been optimized for catalyst research by implementation of a gas purging system and a highly reproducible automation procedure.[1]

The active surface area can be measured reliably and cyclic voltammetry under different gases yield the specific activity of the oxygen reduction reaction, which is one of the critical reactions in PEM fuel cells. In addition to the activity also stability measurements can be performed, when using the coupling of the SFC to ICP-MS.[2] By this the dissolution of Pt or non-noble alloy metals can be detected quantitatively.[3]

This method is applied on e.g. material libraries of Pt alloys with varying non-noble metal fraction and also a method was developed to enable the measurement of high surface area catalysts typically used in PEMFCs.

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