Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability: TechConnect Briefs 2015Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability TechConnect Briefs 2015

Nanomaterials for Catalysis Chapter 3

Bimetallic Nanoparticles for Advanced Energy Conversion Technologies

C.M. Sims, B.W. Eichhorn
University of Maryland, United States

pp. 71 - 74

Keywords: bimetallic nanoparticles, core-shell nanoparticles, electrocatalysis, fuel cells, heterogeneous catalysis

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) are highly regarded as a clean alternative energy technology for motor vehicles, power generators, etc. One factor hindering their commercial viability is the poisoning of the hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) electrocatalyst at the anode by carbon monoxide (CO), an impurity in the H2 fuel feedstocks derived from hydrocarbons. Bimetallic nanoparticle (NP) catalysts have been developed to address this issue on multiple fronts. Here, we present PtSn intermetallic NPs supported on different graphene-based supports, which have been tested for CO-tolerant hydrogen electrooxidation (HOR) activity. Under simulated fuel cell conditions, the PtSn catalysts feature greatly improved efficiencies relative to the commercial E-TEK Pt electrocatalyst. This study also illustrates how the chemical nature of the graphene support directly impacts the resultant catalytic activity of the PtSn NPs. We also discuss M@M’ (M = Ru, Ni, Pd, Pt) bimetallic core-shell NPs, which are being tested for PrOx (preferential oxidation of carbon monoxide) activity, a process which removes CO impurities from H2 fuel feedstocks. These core-shell particles have been fully synthesized and characterized and are expected to have unique catalytic activity for this important industrial process.