Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Electrocatalyst nanostructures key to improved fuel cells, electrolyzers

Abstract:
Stabilization of ultrathin (hydroxy)oxide films on transition metal substrates for electrochemical energy conversion
Zhenhua Zeng1, Kee-Chul Chang2, Joseph Kubal1, Nenad M. Markovic2 and Jeffrey Greeley1
1 School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
2 Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois
Design of cost-effective electrocatalysts with enhanced stability and activity is of paramount importance for the next generation of energy conversion systems, including fuel cells and electrolysers. However, electrocatalytic materials generally improve one of these properties at the expense of the other. Here, using density functional theory calculations and electrochemical surface science measurements, we explore atomic-level features of ultrathin (hydroxy)oxide films on transition metal substrates and demonstrate that these films exhibit both excellent stability and activity for electrocatalytic applications. The films adopt structures with stabilities that significantly exceed bulk Pourbaix limits, including stoichiometries not found in bulk and properties that are tunable by controlling voltage, film composition, and substrate identity. Using nickel (hydroxy)oxide/Pt(111) as an example, we further show how the films enhance activity for hydrogen evolution through a bifunctional effect. The results suggest design principles for this class of electrocatalysts with simultaneously enhanced stability and activity for energy conversion.

Electrocatalyst nanostructures key to improved fuel cells, electrolyzers

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on June 5th, 2017

Purdue University scientists' simulations have unraveled the mystery of a new electrocatalyst that may solve a significant problem associated with fuel cells and electrolyzers.

Fuel cells, which use chemical reactions to produce energy, and electrolyzers, which convert energy into hydrogen or other gases, use electrocatalysts to promote chemical reactions. Electrocatalysts that can activate such reactions tend to be unstable because they can corrode in the highly acidic or basic water solutions that are used in fuel cells or electrolyzers.

A team led by Jeffrey Greeley, an associate professor of chemical engineering, has identified the structure for an electrocatalyst made of nickel nanoislands deposited on platinum that is both active and stable. This design created properties in the nickel that Greeley said were unexpected but highly beneficial.

"The reactions led to very stable structures that we would not predict by just looking at the properties of nickel," Greeley said. "It turned out to be quite a surprise."

Greeley's team and collaborators working at Argonne National Laboratory had noticed that nickel placed on a platinum substrate showed potential as an electrocatalyst. Greeley's lab then went to work to figure out how an electrocatalyst with this composition could be both active and stable.

Greeley's team simulated different thicknesses and diameters of nickel on platinum as well as voltages and pH levels in the cells. Placing nickel only one or two atomic layers in thickness and one to two nanometers in diameter created the conditions they wanted.

"They're like little islands of nickel sitting on a sea of platinum," Greeley said.

The ultra-thin layer of nickel is key, Greeley said, because it's at the point where the two metals come together that all the electrochemical activity occurs. And since there are only one or two atomic layers of nickel, almost all of it is reacting with the platinum. That not only creates the catalysis needed, but changes the nickel in a way that keeps it from oxidizing, providing the stability.

Collaborators at Argonne then analyzed the nickel-platinum structure and confirmed the properties Greeley and his team expected the electrocatalyst to have.

Next, Greeley plans to test similar structures with different metals, such as replacing platinum with gold or the nickel with cobalt, as well as modifying pH and voltages. He believes other more stable and active combinations may be found using his computational analysis.

###

The U.S. Department of Energy supported the research. The research was published in May by the journal Nature Energy.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer: Brian Wallheimer: 765-532-0233,
Contact: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077,
Source: Jeffrey Greeley, 765-494-1282,

Copyright © Purdue University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Chemistry

Development of high-durability single-atomic catalyst using industrial humidifier: Identification of the operating mechanism of cobalt-based single-atomic catalyst and development of a mass production process. Utilization for catalyst development in various fields including fuel May 13th, 2022

News and information

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Lightening up the nanoscale long-wavelength optoelectronics May 13th, 2022

On-Chip Photodetection: Two-dimensional material heterojunctions hetero-integration May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

The future of desalination? A fast, efficient, selective membrane for purifying saltwater May 13th, 2022

Possible Futures

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Discoveries

Going gentle on mechanical quantum systems: New experimental work establishes how quantum properties of mechanical quantum systems can be measured without destroying the quantum state May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Materials/Metamaterials

When a band falls flat: Searching for flatness in materials: International collaboration, led by DIPC and Princeton, creates a catalogue of materials that could impact quantum technologies April 1st, 2022

Studying atomic structure of aluminum alloys for manufacturing modern aircraft March 25th, 2022

Unexplored dimensions of porous metamaterials: Researchers unlock hidden potential in a long-studied group of materials March 18th, 2022

Copper doping enables safer, cost-effective hydrogen peroxide production February 11th, 2022

Announcements

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

New nanomechanical oscillators with record-low loss May 13th, 2022

Small microring array enables large complex-valued matrix multiplication May 13th, 2022

Study finds nanomedicine targeting lymph nodes key to triple negative breast cancer treatment: In mice, nanomedicine can remodel the immune microenvironment in lymph node and tumor tissue for long-term remission and lung tumor elimination in this form of metastasized breast cance May 13th, 2022

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Lightening up the nanoscale long-wavelength optoelectronics May 13th, 2022

On-Chip Photodetection: Two-dimensional material heterojunctions hetero-integration May 13th, 2022

Development of high-durability single-atomic catalyst using industrial humidifier: Identification of the operating mechanism of cobalt-based single-atomic catalyst and development of a mass production process. Utilization for catalyst development in various fields including fuel May 13th, 2022

Engineering piezoelectricity and strain sensitivity in CdS to promote piezocatalytic hydrogen evolution May 13th, 2022

Fuel Cells

Development of high-durability single-atomic catalyst using industrial humidifier: Identification of the operating mechanism of cobalt-based single-atomic catalyst and development of a mass production process. Utilization for catalyst development in various fields including fuel May 13th, 2022

Scavenger nanoparticles could make fuel cell-powered vehicles a reality April 1st, 2022

Graphene gets enhanced by flashing: Rice process customizes one-, two- or three-element doping for applications March 31st, 2022

Activating lattice oxygen in perovskite oxide to optimize fuel cell performance December 17th, 2021

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project