Profs. Joo Sang-hoon and Gwak Sang-kyu of the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have developed a new catalyst for electrochemical chlorine production.
In the catalyst, one platinum atom is evenly dispersed on a carbon nanotube. Its precious metal content is about one-150th of that of the existing commercial catalyst of DSA, and yet it is higher in chorine generation efficiency and facilitates reactions. Existing electrochemical catalysts for chlorine generation contain precious metals such as ruthenium and iridium in quantity and, as such, are expensive and not very efficient in terms of production.
The professors and their research team developed a non-metal oxide based on a conclusion that the drawbacks are rooted in the intrinsic characteristics of metal oxide-based catalysts. In the new catalyst, a platinum atom surrounded by four nitrogen atoms is dispersed on a carbon nanotube. The platinum atom is completely exposed on its surface, and thus a high level of efficiency is achieved even at a low content and it is higher in performance than commercial catalysts under various electrolytic conditions.
The professors studied the principle of electrochemical reactions and the structure of active sites by applying their experimental data to theoretical calculations. As a result, they found out that the improved structural integrity between the active sites and carbon nanotube supports led to smoother electron transfer and catalyst performance improvement.
Details of the research are available on the official website of the Nature Communications journal.