Efficient Catalyst for Hydrogen Production by Low-temperature Aqueous Reforming of Methanol

Researchers have developed a novel catalyst that shows excellent hydrogen production activity and stability in low-temperature aqueous-phase reforming of methanol (APRM). 

In a paper published in Nature, the researchers reported that platinum (Pt) atomically dispersed on α-molybdenum carbide (α-MoC) enables low-temperature (150–190 ℃), base-free hydrogen production through APRM, with an average turnover frequency of 18,046 moles of hydrogen per mole of platinum per hour. This new catalyst paves the way for a commercially achievable hydrogen-storage strategy. 

The researchers had earlier found that α-MoC interacts more strongly with platinum than ordinary oxide carriers or β-Mo2C. During high temperature activation, platinum (Pt1) is atomically dispersed on α-MoC by strong interaction. This results in an unusually high density of electron-deficient surface Pt1 sites for methanol adsorption/activation. 

The α-MoC substrate has high hydrolytic dissociation activity and produces a large number of surface hydroxyls, which accelerates the reforming of the intermediates during the interface reaction between platinum and α-MoC. The combination of these two effects gives the platinum/α-MoC catalyst high catalytic performance and good stability in the base-free APRM process at 150–190 °C. 

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