Construction of Pd-Zn dual sites to enhance the performance for ethanol electro-oxidation reaction

Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 6;12(1):5273. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25600-9.

ABSTRACT

Rational design and synthesis of superior electrocatalysts for ethanol oxidation is crucial to practical applications of direct ethanol fuel cells. Here, we report that the construction of Pd-Zn dual sites with well exposure and uniformity can significantly improve the efficiency of ethanol electro-oxidation. Through synthetic method control, Pd-Zn dual sites on intermetallic PdZn nanoparticles, Pd-Pd sites on Pd nanoparticles and individual Pd sites are respectively obtained on the same N-doped carbon coated ZnO support. Compared with Pd-Pd sites and individual Pd sites, Pd-Zn dual sites display much higher activity for ethanol electro-oxidation, exceeding that of commercial Pd/C by a factor of ~24. Further computational studies disclose that Pd-Zn dual sites promote the adsorption of ethanol and hydroxide ion to optimize the electro-oxidation pathway with dramatically reduced energy barriers, leading to the superior activity. This work provides valuable clues for developing high-performance ethanol electro-oxidation catalysts for fuel cells.

PMID:34489455 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-021-25600-9

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