Carbon-supported Pd catalysts (Pd/CBs) for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) were modified with transition metals to enhance their catalytic activity. Pd-M/CB(N) (M = Co, Cu, Y, and Ag) was prepared by the reduction of metal precursors with NaBH4 in the presence of ethylene glycol (EG) without heat treatment. Pd-Ag/CB(N) showed the highest catalytic activity for the ORR among all the Pd-based catalysts tested in the present study, and it had twice higher activity than Pd/CB. The Pd-Ag/CB(N) also had the higher ORR activity than the Pd-Ag/CB prepared by a conventional impregnation method (Pd-Ag/CB(I)) due to the formation of smaller Pd-Ag alloy particles with 1–2 nm diameters. Pd-Ag/CB(N) was covered with silica layers (SiO2/Pd-Ag/CB(N)) in order to improve their durability under severe cathode conditions. The SiO2/Pd-Ag/CB(N) had high catalytic activity for the ORR during the durability test because silica layers prevented the diffusion of metal species from the catalysts.
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