The key electrode reactions for such energy systems are multi-electron processes called oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Since the sluggish kinetics of ORR is the major factor impeding large-scale application of fuel cells, most research focuses on developing efficient catalysts for ORR and, to a lesser degree, on OER.
The performance of fuel cells largely depends on the ORR – the process that breaks the bonds of the oxygen molecules – which is substantially affected by the activity of the cathode catalyst. Platinum is a very efficient catalyst for boosting the ORR rate. However, it has only moderate activity for the OER, which is the anode reaction and plays an important role in energy conversion and storage.
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