Many materials including carbides, silicides, phosphides, borides, nitrides, oxides, and metals were studied by the Bureau of Mines as potential fuel cell catalysts for electroreduction of oxygen in a 1n h2so4 electrolyte. The objective of this study was to assess the potential of abundant, low-cost materials as substitutes for platinum or to increase the catalytic efficiency of platinum. Several compounds were rejected because of their reaction in the corrosive environment of the oxygen electrode. However, some of the remaining were the most active catalysts. Activity of carbides such as tungsten carbide could be improved by doping with platinum-group metals, by varying stoichiometry, or by sputtering on a layer of platinum. While no catalysts were found with activity as high as platinum, some compounds were shown to be deserving of further investigation.