Colloidal bimetallic platinum–ruthenium nanoparticles in ordered mesoporous carbon films as highly active electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction†
Hydrogen features a very high specific energy density and is therefore a promising candidate for clean fuel from renewable resources. Water electrolysis can convert electrical energy into storable and transportable hydrogen gas. Under acidic conditions, platinum is the most active and stable monometallic catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Yet, platinum is rare and needs to be used efficiently. Here, we report a synthesis concept for colloidal bimetallic platinum–ruthenium and rhodium–ruthenium nanoparticles (PtRuNP, RhRuNP) and their incorporation into ordered mesoporous carbon (OMC) films. The films exhibit high surface area, good electrical conductivity and well-dispersed nanoparticles inside the mesopores. The nanoparticles retain their size, crystallinity and composition during carbonization. In the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), PtRuNP/OMC catalyst films show up to five times higher activity per Pt than Pt/C/Nafion® and PtRu/C/Nafion® reference catalysts.