High Activity Bimetallic Catalyst Nanoparticles for use in Fuel Cells

Categories: "Chemistry"

Reference #: 2010-029

OTC Contact: Steven Yu, M.D., J.D. (Directory Information | Send a Message)


A new method to prepare platinum-ruthenium core-shell bimetallic nanoparticles has been developed. Bimetallic nanoparticles are highly reactive and have great promise as catalysts for energy production in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) which provide a stable, long lasting power source while producing little or no waste. Catalytic alloys of Pt-Ru have offered the best practical performance in the production of DMFCs. Platinum-ruthenium core-shell nanoparticles display electro-oxidation activity 150% higher than that of current industrial benchmark alloys. Until now the fabrication of these particles required multiple steps and has not been amenable to large scale fabrication. This new method of preparation can be done in one pot, making large scale production of Pt-Ru core-shall nanoparticles feasible.


This method of nanoparticle formation has a direct application in the fabrication of improved fuel cells. It considerably enhances anode performance while reducing harmful byproducts, thus meeting modern demands for more energy efficient and environmentally benign technologies.


  • The optimal peak activity was ~150% higher than that of the industrial benchmark Pt-Ru (1 : 1) alloy nanoparticles and could deliver the same performance at half the electrode material cost
  • Straightforward fabrication method can be done in a single pot at lower temperatures than existing methods, which allows ease of scaling to industrial level production
  • The percent surface coverage of platinum on the ruthenium core can be controlled, unlike current fabrication methods, which allows the synthesis of optimal high activity catalysts

Stage of Development

Controlled Pt adlayers were deposited on commercial Ru nanoparticles (NPs) using an industrially scalable one-pot ethylene glycol reduction based method and were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), electrochemical CO stripping voltammetry, inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Using the 3 nm Ru NPs as the starting material, 11 samples with different ratios of Pt deposition ranging from 0.05 to 0.93 were prepared, characterized, and studied in detail for the methanol electro-oxidation.

Relevant Publications

Tong et al. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2009, 11, 8231–8239.


YuYe Tong and Bingchen Tu

Patent Status

Applications are pending