Pt3Ag alloy wavy nanowires as highly effective electrocatalysts for ethanol oxidation reaction
Xiaoyang Fu, Chengzhang Wan, Aixin Zhang, Zipeng Zhao, Huaixun Huyan, Xiaoqing Pan, Shuaijing Du, Xiangfeng Duan, Yu Huang
Nano Res. 13, 1472-1478 (2020)
Direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC) has received tremendous research interests because of the more convenient storage and transportation of ethanol vs. compressed hydrogen. However, the electrocatalytic ethanol oxidation reaction typically requires precious metal catalysts and is plagued with relatively high over potential and low mass activity. Here we report the synthesis of Pt3Ag alloy wavy nanowires via a particle attachment mechanism in a facile solvothermal process. Transmission microscopy studies and elemental analyses show highly wavy nanowire structures with an average diameter of 4.6 ± 1.0 nm and uniform Pt3Ag alloy formation. Electrocatalytic studies demonstrate that the resulting alloy nanowires can function as highly effective electrocatalysts for ethanol oxidation reactions (EOR) with ultrahigh specific activity of 28.0 mA/cm2 and mass activity of 6.1 A/mg, far exceeding that of the commercial Pt/carbon samples (1.10 A/mg). The improved electrocatalytic activity may be partly attributed to partial electron transfer from Ag to Pt in the Pt3Ag alloy, which weakens CO binding and the CO poisoning effect. The one-dimensional nanowire morphology also contributes to favorable charge transport properties that are critical for extracting charge from catalytic active sites to external circuits. The chronoamperometry studies demonstrate considerably improved stability for long term operation compared with the commercial Pt/C samples, making the Pt3Ag wavy nanowires an attractive electrocatalyst for EOR.