Catalytic and electrocatalytic oxidation of ethanol over palladium-based nanoalloy catalysts

Jun Yin, Shiyao Shan, Mei Shan Ng, Lefu Yang, Derrick Mott, Weiqin Fang, Ning Kang, Jin Luo, Chuan Jian Zhong

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92 Citations (Scopus)


The control of the nanoscale composition and structure of alloy catalysts plays an important role in heterogeneous catalysis. This paper describes novel findings of an investigation for Pd-based nanoalloy catalysts (PdCo and PdCu) for ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR) in gas phase and alkaline electrolyte. Although the PdCo catalyst exhibits a mass activity similar to Pd, the PdCu catalyst is shown to display a much higher mass activity than Pd for the electrocatalytic EOR in alkaline electrolyte. This finding is consistent with the finding on the surface enrichment of Pd on the alloyed PdCu surface, in contrast to the surface enrichment of Co in the alloyed PdCo surface. The viability of C-C bond cleavage was also probed for the PdCu catalysts in both gas-phase and electrolyte-phase EOR. In the gas-phase reaction, although the catalytic conversion rate for CO2 product is higher over Pd than PdCu, the nanoalloy PdCu catalyst appears to suppress the formation of acetic acid, which is a significant portion of the product in the case of pure Pd catalyst. In the alkaline electrolyte, CO2 was detected from the gas phase above the electrolyte upon acid treatment following the electrolysis, along with traces of aldehyde and acetic acid. An analysis of the electrochemical properties indicates that the oxophilicity of the base metal alloyed with Pd, in addition to the surface enrichment of metals, may have played an important role in the observed difference of the catalytic and electrocatalytic activities. In comparison with Pd alloyed with Co, the results for Pd alloyed with Cu showed a more significant positive shift of the reduction potential of the oxygenated Pd species on the surface. These findings have important implications for further fine-tuning of the Pd nanoalloys in terms of base metal composition toward highly active and selective catalysts for EOR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9249-9258
Number of pages10
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul 23


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