Research ArticleChemistry

Atomically deviated Pd-Te nanoplates boost methanol-tolerant fuel cells

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Science Advances  29 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 31, eaba9731
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba9731


The methanol crossover effect in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) can severely reduce cathodic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) performance and fuel efficiency. As a result, developing efficient catalysts with simultaneously high ORR activity and excellent antipoisoning methanol capability remains challenging. Here, we report a class of Pd-Te hexagonal nanoplates (HPs) with a Pd20Te7 phase that simultaneously overcome the activity and methanol-tolerant issues in alkaline DMFC. Because of the specific arrangement of Pd atoms deviated from typical hexagonal close-packing, Pd-Te HPs/C displays extraordinary methanol tolerance with high ORR performance compared with commercial Pt/C. DFT calculations reveal that the high performance of Pd-Te HPs can be attributed to the breakthrough of the linear relationship between OOH* and OH* adsorption, which leaves sufficient room to improve the ORR activity but suppresses the methanol oxidation reaction. The concurrent high ORR activity and excellent methanol tolerance endow Pd-Te HPs as practical electrocatalysts for DMFC and beyond.

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