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      Low-temperature hydrogen production from water and methanol using Pt/α-MoC catalysts

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          Abstract

          Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) running on hydrogen are attractive alternative power supplies for a range of applications, with in situ release of the required hydrogen from a stable liquid offering one way of ensuring its safe storage and transportation before use. The use of methanol is particularly interesting in this regard, because it is inexpensive and can reform itself with water to release hydrogen with a high gravimetric density of 18.8 per cent by weight. But traditional reforming of methanol steam operates at relatively high temperatures (200–350 degrees Celsius), so the focus for vehicle and portable PEMFC applications has been on aqueous-phase reforming of methanol (APRM). This method requires less energy, and the simpler and more compact device design allows direct integration into PEMFC stacks. There remains, however, the need for an efficient APRM catalyst. Here we report that platinum (Pt) atomically dispersed on α-molybdenum carbide (α-MoC) enables low-temperature (150–190 degrees Celsius), base-free hydrogen production through APRM, with an average turnover frequency reaching 18,046 moles of hydrogen per mole of platinum per hour. We attribute this exceptional hydrogen production—which far exceeds that of previously reported low-temperature APRM catalysts—to the outstanding ability of α-MoC to induce water dissociation, and to the fact that platinum and α-MoC act in synergy to activate methanol and then to reform it.

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          Most cited references 24

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              Materials for fuel-cell technologies.

              Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy with high efficiency and low emission of pollutants. However, before fuel-cell technology can gain a significant share of the electrical power market, important issues have to be addressed. These issues include optimal choice of fuel, and the development of alternative materials in the fuel-cell stack. Present fuel-cell prototypes often use materials selected more than 25 years ago. Commercialization aspects, including cost and durability, have revealed inadequacies in some of these materials. Here we summarize recent progress in the search and development of innovative alternative materials.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Nature
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                March 22 2017
                March 22 2017
                :
                :
                Article
                10.1038/nature21672
                28329760
                © 2017
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