Atomically mixed Fe-group nanoalloys: Catalyst design for the selective electrooxidation of ethylene glycol to oxalic acid

Takeshi Matsumoto, Masaaki Sadakiyo, Mei Lee Ooi, Tomokazu Yamamoto, Syo Matsumura, Kenichi Kato, Tatsuya Takeguchi, Nobuki Ozawa, Momoji Kubo, Miho Yamauchi

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19 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate electric power generation via the electrooxidation of ethylene glycol (EG) on a series of Fe-group nanoalloy (NA) catalysts in alkaline media. A series of Fe-group binary NA catalysts supported on carbon (FeCo/C, FeNi/C, and CoNi/C) and monometallic analogues (Fe/C, Co/C, and Ni/C) were synthesized. Catalytic activities and product distributions on the prepared Fe-group NA catalysts in the EG electrooxidation were investigated by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry, and compared with those of the previously reported FeCoNi/C, which clarified the contributory factors of the metal components for the EG electrooxidation activity, C2 product selectivity, and catalyst durability. The Co-containing catalysts, such as Co/C, FeCo/C, and FeCoNi/C, exhibit relatively high catalytic activities for EG electrooxidation, whereas the catalytic performances of Ni-containing catalysts are relatively low. However, we found that the inclusion of Ni is a requisite for the prevention of rapid degradation due to surface modification of the catalyst. Notably, FeCoNi/C shows the highest selectivity for oxalic acid production without CO2 generation at 0.4 V vs. the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), resulting from the synergetic contribution of all of the component elements. Finally, we performed power generation using the direct EG alkaline fuel cell in the presence of the Fe-group catalysts. The power density obtained on each catalyst directly reflected the catalytic performances elucidated in the electrochemical experiments for the corresponding catalyst. The catalytic roles and alloying effects disclosed herein provide information on the design of highly efficient electrocatalysts containing Fe-group metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11359-11366
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - May 7 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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