Benchmarking Electrocatalyst Stability for Acidic Oxygen Evolution Reaction: The Crucial Role of Dissolved Ion Concentration

Chao Wei, Zhenbin Wang, Kanan Otani, Degenhart Hochfilzer, Ke Zhang, Rasmus Nielsen, Ib Chorkendorff, Jakob Kibsgaard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Developing robust catalysts for the acidic oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is critical for large-scale implementation of proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolyzers. A promising strategy is to stabilize Ru-based catalysts by suppressing Ru dissolution, which requires knowledge of RuO2 stability. This work explores the influences on measuring the stability number of RuO2 and presents a comprehensive analysis and comparison of its stability with other electrocatalysts. We observe that RuO2 shows relatively higher stability in electrolytes with a confined working volume because of the Nernst shift caused by the concentration buildup of dissolved Ru. The stability number of RuO2 has a negligible dependence on the measurement duration, applied current density, Nafion content, and substrate materials. Furthermore, we analyze the effects of these factors on other typical OER catalysts and identify that the concentration of dissolved ions is key to understanding the stability number measured by different electrochemical cells and the claimed excellent stability of non-noble catalysts reported in the literature. In addition, the comparison of the stability number and intrinsic activity of RuO2, IrO2, and non-noble catalysts demonstrates that RuO2 is at least 2 orders of magnitude less stable but also 10-fold more active than IrO2 and that noble catalysts significantly outperform non-noble catalysts in terms of both stability and activity, posing a grand challenge in developing robust OER catalysts. This work establishes a baseline for enhancing the stability of Ru-based OER catalysts in acidic liquid cells and provides a valuable reference for PEM water electrolyzers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Catalysis
Pages (from-to)14058-14069
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Dissolved ion concentration
  • Non-noble catalysts
  • Oxygen evolution reaction
  • Proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer
  • RuO
  • Stability number


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