The response characteristics of electroless-deposited Co-P/Ni foam catalysts for sodium borohydride hydrolysis were investigated. The effect of nickel foam geometry on the properties of the catalysts was evaluated. As the PPI (pores per inch) of the nickel foam increased, the hydrogen generation rate per gram of the deposited catalyst increased due to an increase in surface area. The response characteristics of various catalysts were compared under real operating conditions. When a thin nickel foam with high PPI was used, the response characteristics of the catalyst improved due to an increase in the amount of the deposited catalyst and surface area. Finally, a 200 W PEMFC (proton exchange membrane fuel cell) system using electroless-deposited Co-P/Ni foam (110 PPI) catalyst was investigated. The response time to reach a hydrogen generation rate sufficient for a 200 W PEMFC was 71 s, and the energy density of a 200 W fuel cell system for producing 600 Wh was 252.1 Wh/kg. A fuel cell system using Co-P/Ni foam catalysts can be widely used as a power source for mobile applications due to fast response characteristics and high energy density. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.