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Issue 8, 2012
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Bifunctional anode catalysts for direct methanolfuel cells

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Using the binding energy of OH* and CO* on close-packed surfaces as reactivity descriptors, we screen bulk and surface alloy catalysts for methanol electro-oxidation activity. Using these two descriptors, we illustrate that a good methanol electro-oxidation catalyst must have three key properties: (1) the ability to activate methanol, (2) the ability to activate water, and (3) the ability to react off surface intermediates (such as CO* and OH*). Based on this analysis, an alloy catalyst made up of Cu and Pt should have a synergistic effect facilitating the activity towards methanol electro-oxidation. Using these two reactivity descriptors, a surface PtCu3 alloy is proposed to have the best catalytic properties of the Pt–Cu model catalysts tested, similar to those of a Pt–Ru bulk alloy. To validate the model, experiments on a Pt(111) surface modified with different amounts of Cu adatoms are performed. Adding Cu to a Pt(111) surface increases the methanol oxidation current by more than a factor of three, supporting our theoretical predictions for improved electrocatalysts.

Graphical abstract: Bifunctional anode catalysts for direct methanol fuel cells

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Article information

14 Oct 2011
07 Jun 2012
First published
13 Jun 2012

Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 8335-8342
Article type

Bifunctional anode catalysts for direct methanol fuel cells

J. Rossmeisl, P. Ferrin, G. A. Tritsaris, A. U. Nilekar, S. Koh, S. E. Bae, S. R. Brankovic, P. Strasser and M. Mavrikakis, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 8335
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE21455E

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