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Title: Directed surfaces structures and interfaces for enhanced electrocatalyst activity, selectivity, and stability for energy conversion reactions

In this project, we have employed a systematic approach to develop active, selective, and stable catalyst materials for important electrochemical reactions involving energy conversion. In particular, we have focused our attention on developing active catalyst materials for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). HER: We have synthesized and investigated several highly active and acid stable non-precious metal HER catalysts, including: [Mo3S13]2- nanoclusters (Nature Chemistry, 2014) and molybdenum phosphosulfide (MoP|S) (Angewandte Chemie, 2014). We have also aimed to engineer these catalyst formulations in a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) for fundamental studies of water electrolysis at high current densities, approximately 1 A/cm2 (ChemSusChem, 2015). We furthermore investigated transition metal phosphide (TMP) catalysts for HER by a combined experimental–theoretical approach (Energy & Environmental Science, 2015). By synthesizing different TMPs and comparing experimentally determined HER activities with the hydrogen adsorption free energies, ΔGH, calculated by density functional theory, we showed that the TMPs follow a volcano relationship for the HER. Using our combined experimental–theoretical model, we predicted that the mixed metal TMP, Fe0.5Co0.5P, should have a near-optimal ΔGH. We synthesized several mixtures of Co and Fe phosphides alloys and confirmed that Fe0.5Co0.5P exhibits the highest HERmore » activity of the investigated TMPs (Energy & Environmental Science, 2015). The understanding gained as to how to improve catalytic activity for the HER, particularly for non-precious metal materials, is important to DOE targets for sustainable H2 production. OER: We have developed a SrIrO3/IrOx catalyst for acidic conditions (submitted, 2016). The SrIrO3/IrOx catalyst significantly outperforms rutile IrO2 and RuO2, the only other OER catalysts to have reasonable stability and activity in acidic electrolyte, and in fact demonstrates the best activity for any known OER catalyst measured in either acidic or in alkaline electrolyte. For alkaline conditions we have demonstrated that the combined effect of cerium as a dopant and gold as a metal support, significantly enhances the OER activity of electrodeposited NiOx films. This NiCeOx-Au catalyst delivers high OER activity in alkaline media, and is among the most active OER electrocatalysts reported to date (Nature Energy, accepted 2016). These studies of new catalysts for the OER, both in acid and in base, are fundamental to enabling new technologies of interest for the DOE, including the production of sustainable fuels and chemicals. ORR: One method to significantly reduce the Pt loading in fuel cell devices is to increase the ORR activity of Pt based systems. To this end we have synthesized a high surface area supported meso-structured PtxNi alloy thin film with a double gyroid morphology that both exhibits high activity and stability for the ORR (submitted, 2016). We have furthermore developed a Ru-core, Pt-shell system that improves the per Pt site activity by more than a factor of 2 (ChemElectroChem, 2014). Further refinement, optimizing Pt-shell thickness and reducing particle sintering during processing, enabled us to obtain a mass activity that is 2 times higher than commercial Pt/C from TKK. These are important contributions to the DOE goal of reducing Pt loading since an improved understanding of how to increase mass activity and stability helps enable low Pt content fuel cells.« less
  1. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering. Shriram Center
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Stanford Univ., CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY catalysis; electrocatalysis; energy conversion; hydrogen; water-splitting; fuel cells; nanomaterials