Rational design of advanced electrocatalysts for oxygen and hydrogen reactions in fuel cells and water electrolyzers
With the fast growing of global population and living standards, the sufficient energy supplying to meet global energy consumption becomes the most important and difficult challenge toward the human beings. To mitigate the significant requirement of fossil fuels, the sustainable energy as a promising alternative to fossil fuel has been extensively developed. In the energy cycle, the renewable primary energy conversion as well as following electrical energy storage and conversion plays a critical role, and water electrolyzers and fuel cells as the representative energy storage and conversion devices have been attracted much attention. However, the relatively low activity of catalysts toward hydrogen and oxygen reactions and high cost of catalysts still limit the practical applications of water electrolyzers and fuel cells. Therefore, my Ph.D. research is focused on the rational design and investigation of advanced electrocatalysts toward oxygen reduction/evolution reactions (ORR/OER), and hydrogen evolution/oxidation reactions (HER/HOR) with a promising activity and durability employed in practical energy storage and conversion applications, e.g. fuel cells, and water electrolyzers.
In terms of ORR, the N- and S- dual doped mesoporous carbon materials (N-S-CMK-3) were rationally synthesized serving as electrocatalytic ORR catalysts, featuring the high surface area originated by highly organized hierarchical mesoporous structures, which could desirably facilitate the diffusion of O2 fuel. This N-S-CMK-3 exhibits remarkable ORR activity and durability in direct alcohol fuel cells (alkaline environment); For OER catalysts, the carbon supported amorphous NiFe nanoparticles was rationally synthesised as the highly active OER catalysts, which exhibits promising OER activity with remarkable durability for long-term electrocatalytic OER tests; On the other hand, the bcc structured PdCu NPs was prepared to meet the requirement of high HOR activity in alkaline electrolyte. The crystalline structure transformation with thermal treatment temperature was also investigated, which provide a promising guide for highly active HOR catalyst design