Novel catalyst materials for the cathode side of meas suitable for transportation applications

Framework Programme: 
Call for proposals: 
Application area: 
Transport and refuelling infrastructure


New cathode catalysts shall be evaluated according to density functional theory (DFT) in order to find compositions of improved activity with reduced noble metal content. The most promising compositions shall be synthesized and tested both as model compounds and in the form of nanoparticles. UHV-investigations of model electrodes, nanoparticle (NP) approaches and half-cell measurements will be performed to characterize the catalysts’ performance and stability. The MEAs of the best performing catalysts will be manufactured and thoroughly tested using the conditions present in automotive systems.


The development of novel catalyst materials will lead to a reduction in low temperature fuel cell production costs and improve sustainability in the transportation field. An increased lifetime is achieved by new catalyst/support combinations leading to a reduction in the total costs of the fuel cell system and helping to enhance the competitiveness of the European fuel cell industry. The project generates a knowledge base for long-term future research in this important area and deepens our understanding of electrocatalysis.


Novel low temperature fuel cell (FC) cathode catalyst and support systems will be designed and synthesized. The focus will be on highly active catalyst materials for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) used in transportation applications. These materials will be fully characterized, benchmarked and validated with a multi-scale bottom up approach in order to significantly reduce the amount of precious metal catalyst loadings (< 0.15 g/kW) and to vastly improve fuel cell efficiency and durability. Thereby, materials compatible and stable under automotive fuel cell environment and conditions will be investigated in order to reach an FC lifetime of 5000h. These targets are highly relevant to the call topic, requesting ambitious, highly novel concepts for the next generation European membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for transportation applications.

Numerical simulations will be used in order to identify which alloy compositions to strive for in the experimental work. These alloys will be synthesized both in the form of well-defined model compounds as well as in the form of nanoparticles. Different modified support materials will be studied. For the NPs, there will be two stages of preparation, the small scale preparation to create well defined NPs for preliminary assessment of their performance and stability, and, subsequently, up-scaling for MEA production. Supported NP catalysts and model catalysts will be tested using electrochemical methods and Surface Science approaches. After up-scaling MEAs based on improved cathode catalysts, improved supports will be assembled using advanced Nafion-based and high temperature membrane based electrolytes. These will be tested for performance and durability using procedures established in the automotive industry and previous EU projects.

Project reference: 
SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.1.5 Next generation European MEAs for transportation applications (80%), and SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.1.6 Investigation of degradation phenomena (20%)
Project type: 
Research and technological development
Contract type: 
Collaborative Project
Start date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
End date: 
Thursday, December 31, 2015
36 months
Project cost: 
€ 3,088,327.80
Project funding: 
€ 1,895,862

Technische Universität München, Institut für Informatik VI, Germany

Ulrike Ronchetti
Other participating organisations: 
Organisation Country
JRC -Joint Research Centre- European Commission Belgium
Universite De Poitiers France
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet Denmark
Chalmers Tekniska Hoegskola Ab Sweden
Universita Degli Studi Di Padova Italy
Ion Power Inc Corp USA
Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas Greece
Toyota Motor Europe Belgium


Patents and Publication files: 
M. Escudero-Escribano , P. Malacrida , M. H. Hansen , U. G. Vej-Hansen , A. Velazquez-Palenzuela , V. Tripkovic , J. Schiotz , J. Rossmeisl , I. E. L. Stephens , I. Chorkendorff Science Vol. 352/Issue 6281 Tuning the activity of Pt alloy electrocatalysts by means of the lanthanide contraction
Amado Velázquez-Palenzuela , Federico Masini , Anders F. Pedersen , María Escudero-Escribano , Davide Deiana , Paolo Malacrida , Thomas W. Hansen , Daniel Friebel , Anders Nilsson , Ifan E.L. Stephens , Ib Chorkendorff Journal of Catalysis Vol. 328 The enhanced activity of mass-selected PtxGd nanoparticles for oxygen electroreduction
Jiwei Ma , Aurélien Habrioux , Nicolas Alonso-Vante ChemElectroChem Vol. 1/Issue 1 The Effect of Substrates at Cathodes in Low-temperature Fuel Cells
S. Mokrane-Soualah , A.S. Gago , A. Habrioux , N. Alonso-Vante Applied Catalysis B: Environmental Vol. 147 Mixed-oxide Ti1−xWxO2 as support for (photo)-electrochemical processes
Samira Siahrostami , Arnau Verdaguer-Casadevall , Mohammadreza Karamad , Davide Deiana , Paolo Malacrida , Björn Wickman , María Escudero-Escribano , Elisa A. Paoli , Rasmus Frydendal , Thomas W. Hansen , Ib Chorkendorff , Ifan E. L. Stephens , Jan Rossmeisl Nature Materials Vol. 12/Issue 12 Enabling direct H2O2 production through rational electrocatalyst design
Lorenzo Perini , Christian Durante , Marco Favaro , Stefano Agnoli , Gaetano Granozzi , Armando Gennaro Applied Catalysis B: Environmental Vol. 144 Electrocatalysis at palladium nanoparticles: Effect of the support nitrogen doping on the catalytic activation of carbonhalogen bond
Paolo Malacrida , María Escudero-Escribano , Arnau Verdaguer-Casadevall , Ifan E. L. Stephens , Ib Chorkendorff Journal of Materials Chemistry A Vol. 2/Issue 12 Enhanced activity and stability of Pt–La and Pt–Ce alloys for oxygen electroreduction: the elucidation of the active surface phase
Yun Luo , Aurélien Habrioux , Laura Calvillo , Gaetano Granozzi , Nicolas Alonso-Vante ChemPhysChem Vol. 15/Issue 10 Yttrium Oxide/Gadolinium Oxide-Modified Platinum Nanoparticles as Cathodes for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Wenbo Ju , Marco Favaro , Christian Durante , Lorenzo Perini , Stefano Agnoli , Oliver Schneider , Ulrich Stimming , Gaetano Granozzi Electrochimica Acta Vol. 141 Pd Nanoparticles deposited on nitrogen-doped HOPG: New Insights into the Pd-catalyzed Oxygen Reduction Reaction
T. P. Johansson , E. T. Ulrikkeholm , P. Hernandez-Fernandez , M. Escudero-Escribano , P. Malacrida , I. E. L. Stephens , I. Chorkendorff Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Vol. 16/Issue 27 Towards the elucidation of the high oxygen electroreduction activity of Pt x Y: surface science and electrochemical studies of Y/Pt(111)
Ying Ma , Manish Singh , Xiaodi Wang , Fan Yang , Qiuan Huang , Bin Zhu International Journal of Hydrogen Energy Vol. 39/Issue 30 Study on GDC-KZnAl composite electrolytes for low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells
Marco Favaro , Lara Ferrighi , Gianluca Fazio , Luciano Colazzo , Cristiana Di Valentin , Christian Durante , Francesco Sedona , Armando Gennaro , Stefano Agnoli , Gaetano Granozzi ACS Catalysis Vol. 5/Issue 1 Single and Multiple Doping in Graphene Quantum Dots: Unraveling the Origin of Selectivity in the Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Wenbo Ju , Tine Brülle , Marco Favaro , Lorenzo Perini , Christian Durante , Oliver Schneider , Ulrich Stimming ChemElectroChem Vol. 2/Issue 4 Palladium Nanoparticles Supported on Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite: Preparation, Reactivity and Stability
Lorenzo Perini , Christian Durante , Marco Favaro , Valentina Perazzolo , Stefano Agnoli , Oliver Schneider , Gaetano Granozzi , Armando Gennaro ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces Vol. 7/Issue 2 Metal–Support Interaction in Platinum and Palladium Nanoparticles Loaded on Nitrogen-Doped Mesoporous Carbon for Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Christoffer M. Pedersen , María Escudero-Escribano , Amado Velázquez-Palenzuela , Leif H. Christensen , Ib Chorkendorff , Ifan E.L. Stephens Electrochimica Acta Vol. 179 Benchmarking Pt-based electrocatalysts for low temperature fuel cell reactions with the rotating disk electrode: oxygen reduction and hydrogen oxidation in the presence of CO (review article)
Jiwei Ma , Aurélien Habrioux , Yun Luo , Guadalupe Ramos-Sanchez , Laura Calvillo , Gaetano Granozzi , Perla B. Balbuena , Nicolas Alonso-Vante Journal of Materials Chemistry A Vol. 3/Issue 22 Electronic interaction between platinum nanoparticles and nitrogen-doped reduced graphene oxide: effect on the oxygen reduction reaction
Yun Luo , Aurélien Habrioux , Laura Calvillo , Gaetano Granozzi , Nicolas Alonso-Vante ChemCatChem Vol. 7/Issue 10 Thermally Induced Strains on the Catalytic Activity and Stability of Pt-M 2 O 3 /C (M=Y or Gd) Catalysts towards Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Yun Luo , Nicolas Alonso-Vante Electrochimica Acta Vol. 179 The Effect of Support on Advanced Pt-based Cathodes towards the Oxygen Reduction Reaction. State of the Art
M. Favaro , F. Carraro , M. Cattelan , L. Colazzo , C. Durante , M. Sambi , A. Gennaro , S. Agnoli , G. Granozzi Journal of Materials Chemistry A Vol. 3/Issue 27 Multiple doping of graphene oxide foams and quantum dots: new switchable systems for oxygen reduction and water remediation
Y. Luo , J.M. Mora-Hernández , L.A. Estudillo-Wong , E.M. Arce-Estrada , N. Alonso-Vante Electrochimica Acta Vol. 173 Nanostructured palladium tailored via carbonyl chemical route towards oxygen reduction reaction
M. Favaro , G.A. Rizzi , S. Nappini , E. Magnano , F. Bondino , S. Agnoli , G. Granozzi Surface Science 646 A synchrotron-based spectroscopic study of the electronic structure of N-doped HOPG and PdY/N-doped HOPG
Vladimir Tripkovic , Jian Zheng , Gian Andrea Rizzi , Carla Marega , Christian Durante , Jan Rossmeisl , Gaetano Granozzi ACS Catalysis Vol. 5/Issue 10 Comparison between the Oxygen Reduction Reaction Activity of Pd 5 Ce and Pt 5 Ce: The Importance of Crystal Structure
Wenbo Ju , Roudabeh Valiollahi , Reza Ojani , Oliver Schneider , Ulrich Stimming Electrocatalysis 7 The Electrooxidation of Formic Acid on Pd Nanoparticles: an Investigation of Size-Dependent Performance
J. Ma , L. Seidl , W. Ju , E. Mostafa , L. Asen , S. Martens , U. Stimming , O. Schneider ECS Transactions Vol. 64/Issue 4 (Invited) Applications of Ionic Liquids in Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage
M. U. Sreekuttan , J. M. Mora-Hernandez , Y. Luo , N. Alonso-Vante ECS Transactions Vol. 64/Issue 36 Substrate Effects on the Catalytic Center of CoSe2 for Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Valentina Perazzolo , Emilia Grądzka , Christian Durante , Roberto Pilot , Nicola Vicentini , Gian Andrea Rizzi , Gaetano Granozzi , Armando Gennaro Electrochimica Acta ??? Chemical and Electrochemical Stability of Nitrogen and Sulphur Doped Mesoporous Carbons
Luis Alberto Estudillo-Wong , Yun Luo , Jesús Adrián Díaz-Real , Nicolas Alonso-Vante Applied Catalysis B: Environmental Vol. 187 Enhanced oxygen reduction reaction stability on platinum nanoparticles photo-deposited onto oxide-carbon composites
Yun Luo , Laura Calvillo , Carole Daiguebonne , Maria K. Daletou , Gaetano Granozzi , Nicolas Alonso-Vante Applied Catalysis B: Environmental Vol. 189 A highly efficient and stable oxygen reduction reaction on Pt/CeOx/C electrocatalyst obtained via a sacrificial precursor based on a metal-organic framework
Björn Wickman , Mattias Fredriksson , Ligang Feng , Niklas Lindahl , Johan Hagberg , Christoph Langhammer Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Vol. 17/Issue 29 Depth probing of the hydride formation process in thin Pd films by combined electrochemistry and fiber optics-based in situ UV/vis spectroscopy
Yun Luo , Luis Alberto Estudillo-Wong , Laura Cavillo , Gaetano Granozzi , Nicolas Alonso-Vante Journal of Catalysis Vol. 338 An easy and cheap chemical route using a MOF precursor to prepare Pd–Cu electrocatalyst for efficient energy conversion cathodes
Valentina Perazzolo , Christian Durante , Roberto Pilot , Andrea Paduano , Jian Zheng , Gian Andrea Rizzi , Alessandro Martucci , Gaetano Granozzi , Armando Gennaro Carbon Vol. 95 Nitrogen and sulfur doped mesoporous carbon as metal-free electrocatalysts for the in situ production of hydrogen peroxide