Holistic design of fuel cell electrocatalysts for the least power applications

Project Director: Dr. Mihaela Florea
Project ID:
Director de proiect: Dr. Mihaela Florea
Tipul proiectului: International
 Program:  M-ERANet
Finantator:  Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, UEFISCDI
Contractor:  National Institute of Materials Physics
Status: In progress
Data de incepere: 1.06.2019
Data de incheiere:  2.06.2022

The CATALEAST proposal allows bringing together diverse backgrounds of the partners and creating a

synergy between self-experiences to be applied to new fields of modern catalysis and fuel cells. The project

will certainly bring an effective added value to the sustainable development for all partners. This experience

might be a key for further common actions between all partners, and also it will give the opportunity for

the young researchers to complete their qualifications working on this subject. Instrumental techniques at

the Romanian (P2, P3) and Spanish (P4) partners could become available to the Hungarian partner (P1)

for catalyst characterization. The Spanish partner (P4) would have a new type of catalysts for MEA

construction, which would be provided by the Hungarian (P1) and Romanian (P2) partners. Both the

Spanish (P4) and Romanian (P2, P3) partners could acquire knowledge on the field of high throughput

techniques and combinatorial methods used by the Hungarian partner (P1), which is particularly useful in

the research of material science with a large number of samples. Since both the Hungarian (P1) and the

Romanian partners (P2) are able to reach only the synthesis of the electrocatalysts of the fuel cells, the

Spanish (P4) expertise gives them the opportunity to compile MEA and produce micro fuel cells from the

novel materials. Thus, through transnational cooperation, research results can be brought closer to practical


Role in the project: Partner P3 (National Institute of Materials Physics) will be responsible for the physicochemical characterization of the most promising ORR and HOR catalysts as an input coming from the high throughput electrochemical screening performed by the P1.

Relevant expertise: The team’s competences are in the field of chemistry,  catalysis and materials physics. As presented in the Annex 1 the team possesses expertise in the field of thematic area as well in the field of the project.

Added value: A deep understanding through characterization of the new materials; recommendation of ways to make the materials more competitive.


Leader: Mihaela Florea, specialized in material synthesis and surface characterization, in charge with the management and dissemination tasks


Florentina Neatu, PhD, specialist in material synthesis, good experience working with characterization techniques; dissemination

Stefan Neatu, PhD, with competence in materials synthesis and characterization.

Lucia Leonat, PhD, in charge with electron microscopy studies characterization, dissemination.

Mihaela M. Trandafir, post-doc, in charge with SEM characterization, dissemination.

Iulia M. Chirica, PhD student, in charge with RAMAN and UV-vis characterization, dissemination.


During the first stage of the project, over 10 samples were prepared using different preparation methods. It has been observed that the preparation method influences the type of crystalline phase present in the final material. Also, the amount of dopant influences the crystallinity of the sample, so that with increasing the amount of dopant the crystallinity decreases, as presented in Figure 1:

Figura 1. X-ray diffractograms of Ni based samples prepared by different methods




1. Articles

  1. Undoped SnO2 as Support for Ni Species to Boost the Oxygen Generation through Alkaline Water Electrolysis, ACS Appl. Materials & Interfaces 2020, 12, 18407–18420; DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b19541.
  2. "CuWO4 with CuO and Cu(OH)2 native layers for H2S detection under real operating conditions – experimental and theoretical assessment", Appl. Surf. Sci., July 2020, submitted.
  3. "Mesoporous NiWO4, Pt/NiWO4 and their composites with graphene nanoplatelets bifunctional electrocatalysts for ORR and HOR", in preparation


2.  Conferences:

  1. Revealing the catalytic features of MAX phase, Novel applications and device fabrication (electrochemical energy storage, biosensors, etc.) of MAX/MAB phases and Mxenes”, ICACC 2020, Daytona, Florida, SUA, Ianuarie 2020 – Prezentare orală;
  2. Cost efficient oxygen generation through alkaline water electrolysis using Ni on SnO2mesoporous support-based electrocatalysts”, ICACC 2020, Daytona, Florida, SUA, Ianuarie 2020 – Prezentare orală;
  3. Mesoporous Pt/NiWO4-BP Bifunctional Electrocatalyst for hydrogen oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions”, 23rdInternational Conference „New Cryogenic and Isotope Technologies for Energy and Environment”, May 25-27, 2020, Băile Govora, România.-canceled

Mihaela Florea



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