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Nanomaterials 2018, 8(12), 965; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8120965

Structure of Active Sites of Fe-N-C Nano-Catalysts for Alkaline Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

1
Advanced R&D Department, Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd., 3000 Yamanoue, Ryuo, Gamo, Shiga 520-2593, Japan
2
Pajarito Powder Limited Liability Company (LLC), 3600 Osuna Rd NE, Suite 309, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA
3
Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Center for Micro-Engineered Materials (CMEM), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
4
Quantum Beam Science Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, 1-1-1, Koto, Sayo, Hyogo 679-5148, Japan
5
Department of Nanotechnology for Sustainable Energy, School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin University, 2-1 Gakuen, Sanda, Hyogo 669-1337, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials in Environmental Friendly Fuel Cell)
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Abstract

Platinum group metal-free (PGM-free) catalysts based on transition metal-nitrogen-carbon nanomaterials have been studied by a combination of ex situ and in situ synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy techniques; high-resolution Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM); Mößbauer spectroscopy combined with electrochemical methods and Density Functional Theory (DFT) modeling/theoretical approaches. The main objective of this study was to correlate the HO2 generation with the chemical nature and surface availability of active sites in iron-nitrogen-carbon (Fe-N-C) catalysts derived by sacrificial support method (SSM). These nanomaterials present a carbonaceous matrix with nitrogen-doped sites and atomically dispersed and; in some cases; iron and nanoparticles embedded in the carbonaceous matrix. Fe-N-C oxygen reduction reaction electrocatalysts were synthesized by varying several synthetic parameters to obtain nanomaterials with different composition and morphology. Combining spectroscopy, microscopy and electrochemical reactivity allowed the building of structure-to-properties correlations which demonstrate the contributions of these moieties to the catalyst activity, and mechanistically assign the active sites to individual reaction steps. Associated with Fe-Nx motive and the presence of Fe metallic particles in the electrocatalysts showed the clear differences in the variation of composition; processing and treatment conditions of SSM. From the results of material characterization; catalytic activity and theoretical studies; Fe metallic particles (coated with carbon) are main contributors into the HO2 generation. View Full-Text
Keywords: anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs); iron-nitrogen-carbon electrocatalysts (Fe-N-C); HO2− generation; oxygen reduction reaction anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs); iron-nitrogen-carbon electrocatalysts (Fe-N-C); HO2− generation; oxygen reduction reaction
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Kishi, H.; Sakamoto, T.; Asazawa, K.; Yamaguchi, S.; Kato, T.; Zulevi, B.; Serov, A.; Artyushkova, K.; Atanassov, P.; Matsumura, D.; Tamura, K.; Nishihata, Y.; Tanaka, H. Structure of Active Sites of Fe-N-C Nano-Catalysts for Alkaline Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 965.

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