Research Abstract


Identification of carbon-encapsulated iron nanoparticles as active species in non-precious metal oxygen reduction catalysts

2016年8月19日 Nature Communications 7 : 12582 doi: 10.1038/ncomms12582



Jason A. Varnell, Edmund C. M. Tse, Charles E. Schulz, Tim T. Fister, Richard T. Haasch, Janis Timoshenko, Anatoly I. Frenkel and Andrew A. Gewirth

Corresponding Author

Andrew A. Gewirth
九州大学 カーボンニュートラル・エネルギー国際研究所

The widespread use of fuel cells is currently limited by the lack of efficient and cost-effective catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction. Iron-based non-precious metal catalysts exhibit promising activity and stability, as an alternative to state-of-the-art platinum catalysts. However, the identity of the active species in non-precious metal catalysts remains elusive, impeding the development of new catalysts. Here we demonstrate the reversible deactivation and reactivation of an iron-based non-precious metal oxygen reduction catalyst achieved using high-temperature gas-phase chlorine and hydrogen treatments. In addition, we observe a decrease in catalyst heterogeneity following treatment with chlorine and hydrogen, using Mössbauer and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Our study reveals that protected sites adjacent to iron nanoparticles are responsible for the observed activity and stability of the catalyst. These findings may allow for the design and synthesis of enhanced non-precious metal oxygen reduction catalysts with a higher density of active sites.