The origins of formic acid electrooxidation on selected surfaces of Pt, Pd, and their alloys with Sn

Radhey ShyamYadav, Medhanie Gebremedhin Gebru, Hanan Teller, Alex Schechter, Haya Kornweitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bimetallic and trimetallic catalysts enhance the catalytic process of formic acid oxidation (FAO) and its adsorbed CO* main intermediate. A comprehensive study, using DFT calculations and electrochemical experiments, was conducted on a series of five mono-, bi-, and tri-metallic catalysts for FAO: Pt(111), Pd(111), Pt3Sn(111), Pd3Sn(111), and Pt3Pd3Sn2(111), considering both pathways: direct oxidation to CO2 and the indirect pathway involving the oxidation of adsorbed CO*. The results show that H-COOH cleavage is thermodynamically predominant on most of the surfaces except Pd3Sn(111). However, kinetically, O-H bond scissoring is preferred on all of the surfaces. The barriers for O-H and C-H cleavage for Pt(111) and Pt3Pd3Sn2(111) are comparable thus the process is governed by thermodynamics. On Pt(111), C-H cleavage is favored, while on Pt3Pd3Sn2(111), both O-H and C-H cleavage are equally viable due to similar thermodynamic profiles. Additionally, Pt-based alloys promote the indirect mechanism, whereas Pd enhances the direct mechanism. Alloying Pt with Sn and the combined effect of Pt, Pd, and Sn in a trimetallic alloy results in the weakening of the HCOOH adsorption and reduces all the activation barriers. The electrochemical findings support the computational results, demonstrating that Pd(111) exhibits oxidation peaks at a low potential, 0.37 V, (indicating a direct mechanism), while Pt-based catalysts display oxidation peaks at around 0.95 V, indicative of the indirect mechanism. Notably, Pt3Pd3Sn2/C shows the highest overall performance towards FAO, with peak current densities of 225 mA mgPGM−1. Thus, Pt3Pd3Sn2 is the most efficient catalyst, providing the lowest energetic pathways for FAO reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3311-3322
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


R. S. Y. would like to greatly acknowledge Ariel University for financially supporting this research. R. S. Y. and H. K. acknowledge the Ariel HPC Center at Ariel University for providing the computational facilities. R. S. Y. acknowledges Nitish Kumar and Ramsamoj Kewat for their help.

FundersFunder number
Ariel University


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