Quantifying the density and utilization of active sites in non-precious metal oxygen electroreduction catalysts.
ABSTRACT: Carbon materials doped with transition metal and nitrogen are highly active, non-precious metal catalysts for the electrochemical conversion of molecular oxygen in fuel cells, metal air batteries, and electrolytic processes. However, accurate measurement of their intrinsic turn-over frequency and active-site density based on metal centres in bulk and surface has remained difficult to date, which has hampered a more rational catalyst design. Here we report a successful quantification of bulk and surface-based active-site density and associated turn-over frequency values of mono- and bimetallic Fe/N-doped carbons using a combination of chemisorption, desorption and (57)Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy techniques. Our general approach yields an experimental descriptor for the intrinsic activity and the active-site utilization, aiding in the catalyst development process and enabling a previously unachieved level of understanding of reactivity trends owing to a deconvolution of site density and intrinsic activity.
Project description:NiFe oxyhydroxide materials are highly active electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), an important process for carbon-neutral energy storage. Recent spectroscopic and computational studies increasingly support iron as the site of catalytic activity but differ with respect to the relevant iron redox state. A combination of hybrid periodic density functional theory calculations and spectroelectrochemical experiments elucidate the electronic structure and redox thermodynamics of Ni-only and mixed NiFe oxyhydroxide thin-film electrocatalysts. The UV/visible light absorbance of the Ni-only catalyst depends on the applied potential as metal ions in the film are oxidized before the onset of OER activity. In contrast, absorbance changes are negligible in a 25% Fe-doped catalyst up to the onset of OER activity. First-principles calculations of proton-coupled redox potentials and magnetizations reveal that the Ni-only system features oxidation of Ni<sup>2+</sup> to Ni<sup>3+</sup>, followed by oxidation to a mixed Ni<sup>3+/4+</sup> state at a potential coincident with the onset of OER activity. Calculations on the 25% Fe-doped system show the catalyst is redox inert before the onset of catalysis, which coincides with the formation of Fe<sup>4+</sup> and mixed Ni oxidation states. The calculations indicate that introduction of Fe dopants changes the character of the conduction band minimum from Ni-oxide in the Ni-only to predominantly Fe-oxide in the NiFe electrocatalyst. These findings provide a unified experimental and theoretical description of the electrochemical and optical properties of Ni and NiFe oxyhydroxide electrocatalysts and serve as an important benchmark for computational characterization of mixed-metal oxidation states in heterogeneous catalysts.
Project description:Oxygen evolution reactions (OER) are important reactions for energy conversion. Metal-free carbon-based catalysts potentially contribute to the catalytic materials for OER. However, it has been difficult to understand the intrinsic catalytic activity of carbon materials, due to catalyst decomposition over the course of long-term reactions. Here, we report high oxygen evolution reaction catalytic activity of F-doped carbon in alkaline media. Intrinsic OER activity was evaluated from a combination of measurements using a rotating disk electrode and O? sensor. The F-doped carbon catalyst is a highly active catalyst, comparable to state-of-the-art precious-metal-based catalysts such as RuO?.
Project description:The great challenge of boosting the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of non-noble-metal electrocatalysts is how to achieve effective exposure and full utilization of nitrogen-rich active sites. To realize the goals of high utilization of active sites and fast electron transport, here we report a new strategy for synthesis of an iron and nitrogen co-doped carbon nanolayers-wrapped multi-walled carbon nanotubes as ORR electrocatalyst (N-C@CNT-Fe) via using partially carbonized hemoglobin as a single-source precursor. The onset and half-wave potentials for ORR of N-C@CNT-Fe are only 45 and 54 mV lower than those on a commercial Pt/C (20 wt.% Pt) catalyst, respectively. Besides, this catalyst prepared in this work has been confirmed to follow a four-electron reaction mechanism in ORR process, and also displays ultra-high electrochemical cycling stability in both acidic and alkaline electrolytes. The enhancement of ORR activity can be not only attributed to full exposure and utilization of active site structures, but also can be resulted from the improvement of electrical conductivity owing to the introduction of CNT support. The analysis of X-ray photoelectric spectroscopy shows that both Fe-N and graphitic-N species may be the ORR active site structures of the prepared catalyst. Our study can provide a valuable idea for effective improvement of the electrocatalytic activity of non-noble-metal ORR catalysts.
Project description:Industrial application of overall water splitting requires developing readily available, highly efficient, and stable oxygen evolution electrocatalysts that can efficiently drive large current density. This study reports a facile and practical method to fabricate a non-noble metal catalyst by directly growing a Co-Fe Prussian blue analogue on a 3D porous conductive substrate, which is further phosphorized into a bifunctional Fe-doped CoP (Fe-CoP) electrocatalyst. The Fe-CoP/NF (nickel foam) catalyst shows efficient electrocatalytic activity for oxygen evolution reaction, requiring low overpotentials of 190, 295, and 428 mV to achieve 10, 500, and 1000 mA cm-2 current densities in 1.0 m KOH solution. In addition, the Fe-CoP/NF can also function as a highly active electrocatalyst for hydrogen evolution reaction with a low overpotential of 78 mV at 10 mA cm-2 current density in alkaline solution. Thus, the Fe-CoP/NF electrode with meso/macropores can act as both an anode and a cathode to fabricate an electrolyzer for overall water splitting, only requiring a cell voltage of 1.49 V to afford a 10 mA cm-2 current density with remarkable stability. This performance appears to be among the best reported values and is much better than that of the IrO2-Pt/C-based electrolyzer.
Project description:State-of-the-art catalysts for oxygen reduction and evolution reactions (ORR and OER), which form the basis of advanced fuel cell applications, are based on noble metals such as Pt and Ir. However, high cost and scarcity of noble metals have led to an increased demand of earth-abundant metal oxide catalysts, especially for bifunctional activity in ORR and OER. The fact that Pt and Ir or C, the cost-effective alternatives suggested, do not display satisfactory bifunctional activity has also helped in turning the interest to metal oxides which are stable under both ORR and OER conditions. Brownmillerite A2B2O5 type oxides are promising as bifunctional oxygen electrocatalysts because of intrinsic structural features, viz., oxygen vacancy and catalytic activity of the B-site transition metal. In this study, Co-doped Ca2Fe2O5 compounds are synthesized by the solid state method and structurally analyzed by Rietveld refinement of powder X-ray diffraction data. The compound Ca2Fe2O5, crystallizing in the Pcmn space group has alternative FeO4 tetrahedral and FeO6 octahedral layers. Its Co-doped analogue, Ca2Fe1.75Co0.25O5, also crystallizes in the same space group with both tetrahedral and octahedral Fe positions substituted with Co. However, Ca2FeCoO5 in the Pbcm space group shows interlayer ordering with Co-rich octahedra connected to Fe-rich tetrahedra and vice versa. Oxygen bifunctional activities of these catalysts are monitored by rotating disc electrode and rotating ring disc electrode techniques in alkaline media. A close analysis of the ORR and OER was conducted through comparison of various parameters such as onset potential, current density, halfwave potential, and other kinetic parameters, which suggests that the presence of Co in the B site aids in achieving better bifunctional activity and bulk conductivity. In addition, Co(II)/Co(III) redox systems and their comparative concentrations also play a decisive role in enhancing the activity.
Project description:The electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) to ammonia (NH3) is a promising alternative route for an NH3 synthesis at ambient conditions to the conventional high temperature and pressure Haber-Bosch process without the need for hydrogen gas. Single metal ions or atoms are attractive candidates for the catalytic activation of non-reactive nitrogen (N2), and for future targeted improvement of NRR catalysts, it is of utmost importance to get detailed insights into structure-performance relationships and mechanisms of N2 activation in such structures. Here, we report density functional theory studies on the NRR catalyzed by single Au and Fe atoms supported in graphitic C2N materials. Our results show that the metal atoms present in the structure of C2N are the reactive sites, which catalyze the aforesaid reaction by strong adsorption and activation of N2. We further demonstrate that a lower onset electrode potential is required for Fe-C2N than for Au-C2N. Thus, Fe-C2N is theoretically predicted to be a potentially better NRR catalyst at ambient conditions than Au-C2N owing to the larger adsorption energy of N2 molecules. Furthermore, we have experimentally shown that single sites of Au and Fe supported on nitrogen-doped porous carbon are indeed active NRR catalysts. However, in contrast to our theoretical results, the Au-based catalyst performed slightly better with a Faradaic efficiency (FE) of 10.1% than the Fe-based catalyst with an FE of 8.4% at -0.2 V vs. RHE. The DFT calculations suggest that this difference is due to the competitive hydrogen evolution reaction and higher desorption energy of ammonia.
Project description:Single-atom catalysts are at the center of attention of the heterogeneous catalysis community because they exhibit unique electronic structures distinct from nanoparticulate forms, resulting in very different catalytic performance combined with increased usage of often costly transition metals. Proper selection of a support that can stably keep the metal in a high dispersion is crucial. Here, we employ spin-polarized density functional theory and microkinetics simulations to identify optimum LaBO3 (B = Mn, Fe, Co, Ni) supported catalysts dispersing platinum group metals as atoms on their surface. We identify a strong correlation between the CO adsorption energy and the d-band center of the doped metal atom. These CO adsorption strength differences are explained in terms of the electronic structure. In general, Pd-doped surfaces exhibit substantially lower activation barriers for CO2 formation than the Rh- and Pt-doped surfaces. Strong Brønsted-Evans-Polanyi correlations are found for CO oxidation on these single-atom catalysts, providing a tool to predict promising compositions. Microkinetics simulations show that Pd-doped LaCoO3 is the most active catalyst for low-temperature CO oxidation. Moderate CO adsorption strength and low reaction barriers explain the high activity of this composition. Our approach provides guidelines for the design of highly active and cost-effective perovskite supported single-atom catalysts.
Project description:Chlorine evolution reaction (CER) is a critical anode reaction in chlor-alkali electrolysis. Although precious metal-based mixed metal oxides (MMOs) have been widely used as CER catalysts, they suffer from the concomitant generation of oxygen during the CER. Herein, we demonstrate that atomically dispersed Pt-N4 sites doped on a carbon nanotube (Pt1/CNT) can catalyse the CER with excellent activity and selectivity. The Pt1/CNT catalyst shows superior CER activity to a Pt nanoparticle-based catalyst and a commercial Ru/Ir-based MMO catalyst. Notably, Pt1/CNT exhibits near 100% CER selectivity even in acidic media, with low Cl- concentrations (0.1?M), as well as in neutral media, whereas the MMO catalyst shows substantially lower CER selectivity. In situ electrochemical X-ray absorption spectroscopy reveals the direct adsorption of Cl- on Pt-N4 sites during the CER. Density functional theory calculations suggest the PtN4C12 site as the most plausible active site structure for the CER.
Project description:Proton exchange membrane fuel cells are promising candidates for a clean and efficient energy conversion in the future, the development of carbon based inexpensive non-precious metal ORR catalyst has becoming one of the most attractive topics in fuel cell field. Herein we report a Fe- and N- doped carbon catalyst Fe-PANI/C-Mela with graphene structure and the surface area up to 702 m g. In 0.1 M HClO electrolyte, the ORR onset potential for the catalyst is high up to 0.98 V, and the half-wave potential is only 60 mV less than that of the Pt/C catalyst (Loadings: 51 μg Pt cm). The catalyst shows high stability after 10,000 cyclic voltammetry cycles. A membrane electrode assembly made with the catalyst as a cathode is tested in a H-air single cell, the maximum power density reached ~0.33 W cm at 0.47 V.
Project description:A low-cost and scalable method has been developed to synthesize Fe-decorated N-rich carbon electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) based on pyrolysis of metal carbonyls containing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Such a method simultaneously optimizes the Fe-related active sites and the porous structure of the catalysts. Accordingly, the best-performing Fe-NC-900-M catalyst shows excellent ORR activity with a half-wave potential of 0.91 V vs. RHE, exceeding that of the 40% Pt/C catalyst in alkaline media. Furthermore, the zinc-air batteries constructed with Fe-NC-900-M as the cathode catalyst exhibit high open-circuit voltage (1.5 V) and peak power density (271 mW cm-2), and outperform most zinc-air batteries with noble-metal free ORR catalysts.