Composition optimized trimetallic PtNiRu dendritic nanostructures as versatile and active electrocatalysts for alcohol oxidation

  • Yan Lu
  • Wei Wang
  • Xiaowei Chen
  • Yuhui Zhang
  • Yanchen Han
  • Yong Cheng
  • Xue-Jiao Chen
  • Kai Liu
  • Yuanyuan Wang
  • Qiaobao Zhang
  • Shuifen Xie
Research Article


Platinum-based nanocrystals are the most effective electrocatalysts for accelerating the chemical transformations on the anode in direct alcohol fuel cells. To facilitate practical applications and overcome the drawbacks of diverse alcohols, it is significant to develop electrocatalysts with high activities and a wide fuel flexibility. Here, we demonstrate a practicable solution method for fabricating composition tunable trimetallic PtNiRu dendritic nanostructures (DNSs) which can serve as versatile and active catalysts for electrooxidation of a variety of liquid alcohols. A series of trimetallic DNSs with tunable Pt/Ni/Ru atomic ratios were successfully synthesized by simply adjusting the feeding of precursors. Detailed electrochemical test indicates that, among other compositions, the Pt66Ni27Ru7 DNSs present much superior electroactivity in catalyzing electrooxidation of liquid alcohols in acidic mediums. Specifically, the mass activity and specific activity on the Pt66Ni27Ru7 DNSs, for electrooxidation of methanol, ethanol, and ethylene glycol, are 4.57 and 4.34 times, 3.55 and 3.42 times, and 2.37 and 2.28 times that of the commercial Pt black, respectively. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and CO stripping studies reveal the adsorption of CO on these PtNiRu DNSs is much weaker than on pure Pt. Meanwhile, the surface Ru sites can provide neighbouring–OH groups to facilitate the oxidation and removal of the adsorbed intermediates (–CO) on the surface Pt sites, effectively improving the CO tolerance of the catalysts. The PtNiRu DNSs also show effectively boosted capacity for breaking the C–C bond in C2-alcohols, showing great potential for fuel-flexible fuel cell applications.


platinum-based nanocrystals dendritic nanostructures fuel flexibility electrooxidation of alcohols CO tolerance 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21771067), the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (Distinguished Young Investigator, 2017J06005), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (No. 2015A030310011), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in Fujian Province University and the Scientific Research Funds of Huaqiao University. We also thank the Instrumental Analysis Center of Huaqiao University for analysis support.

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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Lu
    • 1
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiaowei Chen
    • 1
  • Yuhui Zhang
    • 1
  • Yanchen Han
    • 1
  • Yong Cheng
    • 4
  • Xue-Jiao Chen
    • 1
  • Kai Liu
    • 1
  • Yuanyuan Wang
    • 1
  • Qiaobao Zhang
    • 4
  • Shuifen Xie
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Materials Science and EngineeringHuaqiao UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  3. 3.Shenzhen Research Institute of Xiamen UniversityShenzhenChina
  4. 4.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringXiamen UniversityXiamenChina

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