The cost of fuel cell systems can be largely reduced by developing hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells (HEMFCs) based on platinum group metal-free (PGM-free) catalysts. However, the sluggish hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) in alkaline electrolytes forces HEMFCs to use higher PGM loadings at the anode than proton exchange membrane fuel cells to sustain the desired power densities. Here we report nickel–molybdenum–niobium metallic glasses as PGM-free HOR catalysts. The optimal Ni52Mo13Nb35 metallic glass exhibits an intrinsic exchange current density of 0.35 mA cm−2, outperforming that of a Pt disk catalyst (0.30 mA cm−2). This catalyst also shows remarkable robustness in alkaline electrolyte with a wide stability window up to 0.8 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode. When used as the anode, this catalyst enables power densities of 390 mW cm−2 in H2/O2 fuel cells and 253 mW cm−2 in H2/air fuel cells, and shows negligible performance degradation over 50 h and 30 h, respectively.
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We thank S. L. Chen at Wuhan University for many helpful discussions. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (grant no. 2018YFA0702001), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 22225901, 22175162, 21975237, 21521001, 21431006, 21225315, 21321002, 91645202 and 51871120), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant nos. KGZD-EW-T05 and XDA090301001), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDA21000000), the Anhui Provincial Research and Development Program (grant no. 202004a05020073), the USTC Research Funds of the Double First-Class Initiative (grant no. YD2340002007), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant nos. WK9990000101, 30919011107 and 30919011404), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (grant no. BK20200019), the National Key R&D Program of China (grant no. 2021YFB3802800) and Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Joint Laboratory for Neutron Scattering Science and Technology. This research used the resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under contract no. DE-AC02-06CH11357.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Gao, FY., Liu, SN., Ge, JC. et al. Nickel–molybdenum–niobium metallic glass for efficient hydrogen oxidation in hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells. Nat Catal 5, 993–1005 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-022-00862-8
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