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A Comparative Study of the Catalytic Performance of Pt-Based Bi and Trimetallic Nanocatalysts Towards Methanol, Ethanol, Ethylene Glycol, and Glycerol Electro-Oxidation

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Carbon-supported platinum is used as an anode and cathode electrocatalyst in low-temperature fuel cells fueled with low-molecular-weight alcohols in fuel cells. The cost of Pt and its low activity towards the complete oxidation of these fuels are significant barriers to the widespread use of these types of fuel cells. Here, we report on the development of PtRhNi nanocatalysts supported on carbon made using a reduction chemistry method with different atomic rates. The catalytic activity of the developed catalysts towards the electro-oxidation of methanol, ethanol, ethylene glycol, and glycerol in acidic media was studied. The obtained catalysts performances were compared with both commercial Pt/C and binary Pt75Ni25/C catalyst. The nanostructures were characterized, employing inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer, X-ray diffraction, scanning transmission electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The binary catalyst presents a mean particle size of around 2 nm. Whereas the ternary catalysts present particles of similar size and with some large alloy and core–shell structures. The alcohol oxidation onset potential and the current density measured after 3600 s of chronoamperometry were used to classify the catalytic activity of the catalysts towards the oxidation of methanol, ethanol, ethylene glycol, and glycerol. The best PtRhNi/C catalyst composition (i.e., Pt43Rh43Ni14/C) presented the highest activity for alcohols oxidation compared with all catalysts studied, indicating the proper tuning composition influence in the catalytic activity. The enhanced activity of Pt43Rh43Ni14/C can be attributed to the synergic effect of trimetallic compounds, Pt, Ni, and Rh.

Keywords: Alcohols Electrooxidation; Core–Shell; Fuel Cell; Nanostructured Materials

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratório de Eletroquímica e Nanotecnologia, Instituto de Tecnologia e Pesquisa, CEP: 49032-490, Aracaju-SE, Brazil 2: Ernst-Ruska Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons and Peter Grünberg Institute, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany 3: Instituto de Química, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Campus Universitário de Ondina, Ondina, 40.290-170, Salvador, Brazil 4: Department of Chemistry, Technical University Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 124, 10623 Berlin, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2020

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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