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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
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  3. Atomically dispersed and nitrogen-coordinated single Ni sites ( i.e. , NiN x moieties) embedded in partially graphitized carbon have emerged as effective catalysts for CO 2 electroreduction to CO. However, much mystery remains behind the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that govern the overall catalytic CO 2 electrolysis performance. Here, we designed a high-performance single Ni site catalyst through elucidating the structural evolution of NiN x sites during thermal activation and other critical external factors ( e.g. , carbon particle sizes and Ni content) by using Ni–N–C model catalysts derived from nitrogen-doped carbon carbonized from a zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF)-8. The N coordination, metal–N bond length, and thermal wrinkling of carbon planes in Ni–N–C catalysts significantly depend on thermal temperatures. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that the shortening Ni–N bonds in compressively strained NiN 4 sites could intrinsically enhance the CO 2 RR activity and selectivity of the Ni–N–C catalyst. Notably, the NiN 3 active sites with optimal local structures formed at higher temperatures ( e.g. , 1200 °C) are intrinsically more active and CO selective than NiN 4 , providing a new opportunity to design a highly active catalyst via populating NiN 3 sites with increased density. We alsomore »studied how morphological factors such as the carbon host particle size and Ni loading alter the final catalyst structure and performance. The implementation of this catalyst in an industrial flow-cell electrolyzer demonstrated an impressive performance for CO generation, achieving a current density of CO up to 726 mA cm −2 with faradaic efficiency of CO above 90%, representing one of the best catalysts for CO 2 reduction to CO.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 18, 2023
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  5. Electrochemical energy systems such as batteries, water electrolyzers, and fuel cells are considered as promising and sustainable energy storage and conversion devices due to their high energy densities and zero or negative carbon dioxide emission. However, their widespread applications are hindered by many technical challenges, such as the low efficiency and poor long-term cyclability, which are mostly affected by the changes at the reactant/electrode/electrolyte interfaces. These interfacial processes involve ion/electron transfer, molecular/ion adsorption/desorption, and complex interface restructuring, which lead to irreversible modifications to the electrodes and the electrolyte. The understanding of these interfacial processes is thus crucial to provide strategies for solving those problems. In this review, we will discuss different interfacial processes at three representative interfaces, namely, solid–gas, solid–liquid, and solid–solid, in various electrochemical energy systems, and how they could influence the performance of electrochemical systems.
  6. Employing the strong metal-support interaction (SMSI) effect for promoting the catalyst's activity toward the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is promising due to the electronic structure optimization and high utilization efficiency of platinum group metal (PGM) catalysts. Metal oxides as alternative supports for PGMs facilitate intrinsic activity and improve durability as compared to conventional carbon supports. However, the restricted mass and electron transfer at the metal/support interface need to be addressed. Herein, to strengthen the interaction at the metal/support interfaces and improve the utilization efficiency of PGM, an ultralow loading of Pd was embedded in a surface-oxygenated PdNiMnO porous film. The Mn-doping was designed to promote surface oxygenation using a facile anodization process that created sufficiently exposed interfaces between Pd and the support, strengthening the SMSI effects at the Pd/oxygenated support interface for enhancing ORR performance. Furthermore, the Ni-containing oxygenated catalyst served as both the active component for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and the functional support for stabilizing Pd, making PdNiMnO a bifunctional catalyst for zinc–air flow batteries (ZAFB). As a proof-of-concept, the ZAFB (PdNiMnO) shows a maximal power density of 211.6 mW cm −2 and outstanding cycling stability for over 2000 h with a minimal voltage gap of 0.69more »V at a current density of 10 mA cm −2 , superior to the state-of-the-art catalysts.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 18, 2023
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