Hydrogen-generating behavior of Pd-decorated gold nanoparticles via formic acid decomposition
Heck, Kimberly N.
Miller, Jeffrey T.
Wong, Michael S.
Formic acid is a promising hydrogen storage material where hydrogen is generated via metal-catalyzed decomposition. Bimetallic catalysts are active for this reaction, but the mechanism has not been fully proven. Palladium metal supported on gold nanoparticles (Pd-on-Au NPs) has structural properties that are advantageous for studying aqueous-phase catalytic reactions. In this work, a series of Pd-on-Au NPs of varying Pd loadings (calculated in terms of Pd surface coverage, sc%) were synthesized, immobilized onto carbon, and studied for formic acid decomposition at room temperature. Pd-on-Au NPs were catalytically active, with a reaction rate constant as high as 137 m L-H2/gPd/min (corresponding to an initial turnover frequency TOF of 123 h−1) at a Pd loading of 300 sc%. In contrast, Au NPs were inactive, and Pd NPs were slightly active (5 mL-H2/gPd/min and TOF of 38 h−1). The Pd metal of Pd-on-Au catalysts are partially oxidized, and is readily reduced without changing the metal-on-metal structure during reaction, according to in situ x-ray adsorption spectroscopy measurements. CO formation was inhibited at a Pd loading of 300 sc%, suggesting that three-dimensional Pd ensembles favored the desired dehydrogenation pathway while single-atom and small two-dimensional Pd ensembles are active for the undesired dehydration pathway.