CATALEAST – M-ERA.NET Joint Call 2018,  Nr6052, NNE 131270

Holistic design of fuel cell electrocatalysts for the least power applications

Tüzelőanyag-cellák elektrokatalizátorainak holisztikus tervezése a legkisebb teljesítménykategóriájú alkalmazásokhoz

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices, working with fuel stored outside the body of the cell, so power production and energy storage are physically separated, as a difference from batteries. Operation of hydrogen fuel cells is completely free of environmental emissions. In addition, they can use hydrogen from a wide range of renewable resources. Increasing the use of renewable energy sources through the deployment of hydrogen fuel cells is one principal strategy towards the European objectives in the 7th EAP (The new general Union Environment Action Program to 2020; en.pdf) and the SET Plan about a decarbonized and more efficient energy system. Due to its high energy density, low operation temperature, and high conversion efficiency, Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) are the most important type of fuel cells in transportation and portable applications. One of the key components responsible for the longevity, performance and price of PEMFCs is the electrocatalyst. Currently used PEMFC electrodes are based on the catalyst family of carbon supported platinum (Pt/C) which are known to suffer from corrosion. That can only be compensated with extremely high Pt loading keeping the price of the cells high. In project CATALEAST, a consortium with complementary expertise in catalyst development and PEMFC design was formed with the vision to replace the corrosion-sensitive and expensive Pt/C electrocatalysts with more stable and cheaper ones. The key element of our concept was to introduce inherently stable oxide materials either to act as electrocatalysts by themselves or to partly or completely replace the carbon support. Both anodic and cathodic reactions in a fuel cell were targeted in the project. In line with the holistic view, integration of these catalysts into Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) and building cells and stacks from these MEAs were also aimed. The operation of PEMFCs under portable conditions requires electrodes and catalyst materials able to perform under passive air breathing conditions, which requires highly stable and active materials as those proposed in this project. CATALEAST project is implemented in the form of a consortium coordinated by the Research Centre for Natural Sciences.

The main data of the project:

Hungarian participant:

  • Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Institute of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Renewable Energy Research Group (P1, consortium leader) 

Romanian participants:

  • “Ilie Murgulescu” Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Romanian Academy (P2) 
  • National Institute of Materials Physics (P3)


  • Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Spain

Funding Organizations:

  • National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH) – P1
  • Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si Inovarii (UEFISCDI)- P2, P3

Funding programs

  • National Research, Development and Innovation Office – Call for proposals for international cooperation (NN_18) – P1
  • UEFISCDI Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding Program 3: International and European Cooperation: M-ERA.NET 2 – ERA-NET on research on materials science and engineering – P2, P3

Financial information:

  • Total budget: €373.000 
  • Support for P1: €85.000; 26.818.000 HUF 


  • 2019. 07.01-2022.06.30.

Contact persons: 

András Tompos PI ( –  P1

Simona Somacescu ( –  P2

Mihaela Florea ( – P3

Danielle Verde Nolasco: Optimization of membrane electrode assembly for PEM fuel cells MSc. Thesis

Ilgar Ayyubov Preparation and characterisation of Pt based electrocatalysts for PEM fuel cells MSc. Thesis

Khirdakhanim Salmanzade Effect of the composition of corrosion resistant mixed oxide-based anode and cathode electrocatalysts on the electrocatalytic performance

Khirdakhanim Salmanzade Investigation of corrosion resistant mixed oxide-based anode and cathode Pt catalysts: Effect of the composition on the electrocatalytic performance

Meeting in 2019

Khirdakhanim Salmanzade: Preparation of novel composite support materials for CO tolerant and stable anode electrocatalysts MSc. Thesis