Earth Abundant Bimetallic Nanoparticles for Heterogeneous Catalysis

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Senn Jr, Jonathan Fitzgerald
Eichhorn, Bryan
Polymer exchange membrane fuel cells have the potential to replace current fossil fuel-based technologies in terms of emissions and efficiency, but CO contamination of H2 fuel, which is derived from steam methane reforming, leads to system inefficiency or failure. Solutions currently under development are bimetallic nanoparticles comprised of earth-abundant metals in different architectures to reduce the concentration of CO by PROX during fuel cell operation. Chapter One introduces the Pt-Sn and Co-Ni bimetallic nanoparticle systems, and the intermetallic and core-shell architectures of interest for catalytic evaluation. Application, theory, and studies associated with the efficacy of these nanoparticles are briefly reviewed. Chapter Two describes the concepts of the synthetic and characterization methods used in this work. Chapter Three presents the synthetic, characterization, and catalytic findings of this research. Pt, PtSn, PtSn2, and Pt3Sn nanoparticles have been synthesized and supported on γ-Al2O3. Pt3Sn was shown to be an effective PROX catalyst in various gas feed conditions, such as the gas mixture incorporating 0.1% CO, which displayed a light-off temperatures of ~95°C. Co and Ni monometallic and CoNi bimetallic nanoparticles have been synthesized and characterized, ultimately leading to the development of target Co@Ni core-shell nanoparticles. Proposed studies of catalytic properties of these nanoparticles in preferential oxidation of CO (PROX) reactions will further elucidate the effects of different crystallographic phases, nanoparticle-support interactions, and architecture on catalysis, and provide fundamental understanding of catalysis with nanoparticles composed of earth abundant metals in different architectures.