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The sluggish reaction kinetics of alkaline hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) is one of the key challenges for anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs). To achieve robust alkaline HOR with minimized cost, we developed a single atom-cluster multiscale structure with isolated Pt single atoms anchored on Ru nanoclusters supported on nitrogen-doped carbon nanosheets (Pt1-Ru/NC). The well-defined structure not only provides multiple sites with varied affinity with the intermediates but also enables simultaneous modulation of different sites via interfacial interaction. In addition to weakening Ru–H bond strength, the isolated Pt sites are heavily involved in hydrogen adsorption and synergistically accelerate the Volmer step with the help of Ru sites. Furthermore, this catalyst configuration inhibits the excessive occupancy of oxygen-containing species on Ru sites and facilitates the HOR at elevated potentials. The Pt1-Ru/NC catalyst exhibits superior alkaline HOR performance with extremely high activity and excellent CO-tolerance. An AEMFC with a 0.1 mg·cmPGM−2 loading of Pt1-Ru/NC anode catalyst achieves a peak powder density of 1172 mW·cm−2, which is 2.17 and 1.55 times higher than that of Pt/C and PtRu/C, respectively. This work provides a new catalyst concept to address the sluggish kinetics of electrocatalytic reactions containing multiple intermediates and elemental steps.

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Acknowledgements

Publication history

Received: 28 January 2024
Revised: 29 February 2024
Accepted: 03 March 2024
Published: 23 March 2024

Copyright

© Tsinghua University Press 2024

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 52171224 and 92261119). J. M. W. acknowledges support from Zhejiang Province Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. ZJ2022003) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2023M733020). The authors thank the staff of beamline BL11B at the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the staff at Photoemission End-station (BL10B) in the National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) for their support in XAS measurements.

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