A particularly designed H-type cell was used to simulate the operating condition of a hydrogen-air proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The electrocatalytic activity, morphology, structure and lifetime of commercially available catalysts, carbon support platinum (Pt/C) and unsupported platinum-ruthenium (Pt-Ru), were preliminary studied by carrying out electrochemical measurements and by SEM, XRD techniques. The catalysts were simultaneously tested in the H-cell under operation, and also separately tested in a conventional electrochemical cell for comparison. It was found that the characteristic peaks of hydrogen adsorption/desorption on cyclic voltammograms shifted considerably to a more positive direction for Pt/C, while a more negative direction for Pt-Ru. The magnitude of the peak current densities on CV curves, especially observed from Pt/C catalyst, tended to reduce after the lifetime tests. The electrocatalytic activity of Pt-Ru was significantly lower due to carbon monoxide poison, and the effect of CO on catalyst was irreversible.


PEMFC, electrocatalytic activity, lifetime, commercial catalyst

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