Superior Electrocatalysis of Formic Acid Electro-oxidation on a Platinum, Gold and Manganese Oxide Nanoparticle-based Ternary Catalyst

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A novel “MnOx/Au/Pt” ternary nanocatalyst is recommended for formic acid electrooxidation (FAO), the principal anodic reaction in direct formic acid fuel cells (DFAFCs). The protocol employed to prepare the catalyst utilized the sequential (layer-by-layer) electrodeposition of Pt (nano-Pt), Au (nano-Au) and manganese oxide (nano-MnOx) nanoparticles onto the surface of a glassy carbon (GC) support. The nano-Au enhanced the catalytic performance by changing the surface geometry to inhibit the adsorption of poisoning CO, which is a typical intermediate in the reaction mechanism of FAO, producing a potential deterioration of the catalytic performance of DFAFCs. On the other hand, nano- MnOx could successfully mediate the mechanism of FAO by accelerating the charge transfer and imparting an enhanced catalytic stability during long continuous operation. Interestingly, with this modification of the Pt/GC electrode by nano-Au and nano-MnOx, a significant (ca. 67 times that obtained at the Pt/GC electrode) enhancement in the catalytic activity toward FAO was achieved.