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Title: Determining the Overpotential for a Molecular Electrocatalyst

“The additional potential (beyond the thermodynamic requirement) needed to drive a reaction at a certain rate is called the overpotential.”1 Over the last decade there has been considerable interest in the design and testing of molecular electrocatalysis for the interconversion of renewable energy and chemical fuels.2-5 One of the primary motivations for such research is the replacement of expensive and rare precious metal catalysts, such as platinum, with cheaper, more abundant metals.2,6-8 To become competitive with current electrocatalytic energy conversion technologies, new catalysts must be robust, fast, and energy-efficient. This last feature, the energy-efficiency, is dependent upon the overpotential. For molecular catalysts, the determination and reporting of overpotentials can be complicated by the frequent dependence on assumptions, especially when working in nonaqueous solvents. As overpotentials become lower, the meaningful comparison of molecular catalysts will require improved accuracy and precision. The intended purpose of this viewpoint is to provide a clear and concise description of overpotential and recommendation for its determination in molecular electrocatalysis. This material is based upon work supported as part of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: ACS Catalysis, 4(2):630-633
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
overpotential; electrocatalysis; homegenous catalysis