The "hydrogen economy" is one of the key processes for the sustainable development. For the development of hydrogen economy, the most essential points are hydrogen production from water, hydrogen transportation, and efficient purification of hydrogen are at the core of the development of the "hydrogen economy". The water–gas shift (WGS) reaction is an industrially important source of pure hydrogen (H2) at the expense of carbon monoxide and water. This reaction is of interest for fuel-cell applications, but requires WGS catalysts that are durable and highly active at low temperatures.
Recently, research under the cooperation of research teams led by Prof. ZHOU Wu at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Prof. MA Ding at Peking University (PKU), and Prof. SHI Chuan at Dalian University of Technology (DLUT), demonstrates that the structure (Pt1–Ptn)/α-MoC, where isolated platinum atoms (Pt1) and subnanometre platinum clusters (Ptn) are stabilized on α-molybdenum carbide (α-MoC), catalyses the WGS reaction even at 313 kelvin, with a hydrogen-production pathway involving direct carbon monoxide dissociation identified. Researchers find that it is critical to crowd the α-MoC surface with Pt1 and Ptn species, which prevents oxidation of the support that would cause catalyst deactivation, as seen with gold/α-MoC (ref.), and gives the system high stability and a high metal-normalized turnover number of 4,300,000 moles of hydrogen per mole of platinum. Researchers anticipate that the strategy demonstrated here will be pivotal for the design of highly active and stable catalysts for effective activation of important molecules such as water and carbon monoxide for energy production.
The research is published in Nature entitled “A stable low-temperature H2-production catalyst by crowding Pt on α-MoCα-MoC”, Dr ZHANG Xiao at PKU and DLUT, Dr ZHANG Mengtao and Dr DENG Yuchen graduated from PKU, and PhD student XU Mingquan at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences are the first authors. This work received financial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key R&D Program of China, and the Beijing Outstanding Young Scientist Program. The X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction experiments were conducted at the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility. The Pt L3 edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy for 0.02 wt% Pt/α-MoC was conducted at beamline10-BM, MRCAT operations, Advanced Photon Source under contract number DEAC02-06CH11357. The AP-XPS experiments were conducted in Swiss Light Source synchrotron. D.M. acknowledges support from the Tencent Foundation through the XPLORER PRIZE.
Editor: GAO Yuan