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Pt-Ir alloy catalysts for PEM fuel cells show significant improvement in durability and stability as well as reduced Pt use

Low durability is a challenge hindering the commercialization of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology. Researchers at the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai report that new platinum-iridium (Pt–Ir) alloy catalysts supported on homemade graphitic carbon nanocages (CNCs) for PEM fuel cells show a “drastic” improvement in durability and stability over the unalloyed Pt catalyst supported on the same CNCs and the catalyst from Johnson Matthey

Their paper is published in the Journal of Power Sources.

Results from cyclic voltammetry (CV) and linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) show that the alloy catalyst with an atomic Pt/Ir ratio of 1:1 supported on CNCs with a high degree of graphitization exhibits an excellent electrocatalytic activity.

… It is found that the concurrent uses of well-graphitized CNCs as the support material and Ir as the alloying element are critical for the observed improvement. Such a Pt–Ir alloy catalyst provides a new replacement for the conventional Pt catalyst with not only a drastic improvement in durability but also a reduction in Pt usage by 50% as well.

—Zeng et al.


  • Min Zeng, Xiao Xia Wang, Zhe Hua Tan, Xin Xin Huang, Jian Nong Wang (2014) “Remarkable durability of Pt–Ir alloy catalysts supported on graphitic carbon nanocages”

    Journal of Power Sources doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2014.04.097



Drastic durability improvement with 50% less high cost platinum are two good changes for future more affordable longer lasting PEMFCs. FCEVs manufacturers will like that.

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