Comparison of high-throughput electrochemical methods for testing direct methanol fuel cell anode electrocatalysts

Benny C. Chan, Renxuan Liu, Krishnakumar Jambunathan, Hong Zhang, Guoying Chen, Thomas E. Mallouk, Eugene S. Smotkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The screening and testing of fuel cell electrocatalysts often involves comparisons under conditions that do not closely match their use in membrane electrode assemblies. We compared the activities of several commercial and homemade Pt and PtRu catalysts for electrochemical methanol oxidation by four different techniques; disk electrode linear sweep voltammetry in aqueous methanol/sulfuric acid solutions, optical fluorescence detection in aqueous methanol solutions containing a fluorescent acid-base indicator, steady-state voltammetry in a 25 electrode array fuel cell with a large common counter electrode, and steadystate voltammetry in a conventional direct methanol fuel cell. The fluorescence detection method, which is a high-throughput technique developed for large arrays of electrocatalysts, can distinguish active from inactive catalysts, but it does not accurately rank active catalysts. Both the disk electrode and array fuel cell methods gave a reliable ranking of the catalysts studied. The best agreement occurred between the array fuel cell and single electrode fuel cell catalyst rankings. A wide range of catalytic activities was found for PtRu catalysts of the same nominal composition that were prepared by different methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A594-A600
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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