Highly active and thermally stable single-atom catalysts for high-temperature electrochemical devices

Jisu Shin, Young Joo Lee, Asif Jan, Sung Min Choi, Mi Young Park, Sungjun Choi, Jun Yeon Hwang, Seungki Hong, Seung Gyu Park, Hye Jung Chang, Min Kyung Cho, Jitendra Pal Singh, Keun Hwa Chae, Sungeun Yang, Ho Il Ji, Hyoungchul Kim, Ji Won Son, Jong Ho Lee, Byung Kook Kim, Hae Weon LeeJongsup Hong, Yun Jung Lee, Kyung Joong Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Single-atom catalysts provide unique catalytic properties and maximize the atom utilization efficiency. While utilizing them at elevated temperatures is highly desirable, their operating temperature is usually kept below 300 °C to prevent isolated atoms from agglomerating. Moreover, their applications in high-temperature electrochemical devices have been hindered by the lack of suitable processing techniques for catalyst loading. Herein, we report single-atom Pt/ceria nanocatalysts that are highly active and thermally stable in solid oxide cells (SOCs) operating at 600-800 °C. Our urea-based chemical solution process creates strong Pt-O-Ce interactions that securely anchor isolated Pt atoms to the surface of ceria nanoparticles and suppress their high-temperature migration. These single-atom Pt/ceria nanocatalysts are loaded in the oxide fuel electrode of a SOC via an in situ synthetic process, which reduces the polarization resistance from 28.2 to 0.82 Ohm cm2 at 600 °C. This electrode outperforms the state-of-the-art Ni-based fuel electrode by up to 10 times and delivers extremely high performance in full SOCs in fuel cell and electrolysis modes. Furthermore, it stably operates at 700 °C for over 500 h under realistic operating conditions. Our results provide guidance to resolve the critical issues for the practical use of single-atom catalysts in various industrial processes and accelerate the commercial development of next-generation high-temperature energy devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4903-4920
Number of pages18
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of the Korean Ministry of Science & ICT through the Technology Development Program to Solve Climate Changes (No. 2020M1A2A2080862), the institutional research program of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Yonsei-KIST Convergence Research Program, and in part by grants from the NRF, Korean Ministry of Science & ICT (No. NRF-2018R1A2B2001176). The authors thank Lauren Plavisch for English language editing.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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