The electrocatalysts and supports thrust is studying catalysts, catalyst supports, and their interactions to enable advanced platinum-based catalysts to achieve technology-enabling performance and durability.

 Research Focus

The materials studied by FC-PAD include state-of-the-art commercial catalysts; catalysts and supports arising from materials development projects within the Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Office of Basic Energy Sciences portfolio, where sufficient quantities are available; and materials that have demonstrated the ability to reach the U.S. Department of Energy beginning-of-life performance targets or those demonstrating the potential to meet the targets in ex situ measurements.

Catalyst and Catalyst Support Durability and Degradation Mechanisms

FC-PAD is researching catalyst and catalyst support durability and degradation mechanisms to:

  • Elucidate catalyst and support degradation mechanisms as a function of catalyst and support physicochemical properties and cell operating conditions
  • Quantify catalyst and support stability during accelerated stress tests and start-up and shut-down transients using in-cell measurements
  • Determine stability of catalyst components against dissolution, catalyst and support composition and structural changes induced by cell testing, particle size distribution changes with time using operando X-ray techniques and microscopy, and oxide growth kinetics and steady-state coverages using electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques.

Catalyst and Support Interactions

FC-PAD is researching catalyst and support interactions to:

  • Understand interplay between the catalyst and support properties and their mutual interactions
  • Determine the effects of carbon type (e.g., high, medium, and low surface area) and carbon dopants on the strength of the catalyst/support and ionomer/support interactions
  • Investigate the impact of these interactions on catalyst and support stability, durability, and performance.

Ex-situ Analysis of Catalyst Instability on Cathode Catalyst Layer Properties

FC-PAD is researching ex-situ analysis of catalyst instability on cathode catalyst layer properties to quantify the impact of catalyst degradation on the properties defining the performance of the cathode catalyst layer—for example, the impact of base metal leaching from platinum alloy catalyst on proton conductivity, oxygen permeability, and water uptake in the ionomer.

 Participating Labs

These national laboratories will conduct the foundational technical work in the electrocatalysts and supports thrust area:

Argonne National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory

See lab capabilities 


Photo of Deborah Myers

Deborah Myers
Electrocatalysts and Supports Thrust Coordinator
Argonne National Laboratory