Scaling-Relation-Based Analysis of Bifunctional Catalysis: The Case for Homogeneous Bimetallic Alloys

Mie Andersen, Andrew J. Medford, Jens K. Nørskov, Karsten Reuter
Year of publication: 
ACS Catalysis

We present a generic analysis of the implications of energetic scaling relations on the possibilities for bifunctional gains at homogeneous bimetallic alloy catalysts. Such catalysts exhibit a large number of interface sites, where second-order reaction steps can involve intermediates adsorbed at different active sites. Using different types of model reaction schemes, we show that such site-coupling reaction steps can provide bifunctional gains that allow for a bimetallic catalyst composed of two individually poor catalyst materials to approach the activity of the optimal monomaterial catalyst. However, bifunctional gains cannot result in activities higher than the activity peak of the monomaterial volcano curve as long as both sites obey similar scaling relations, as is generally the case for bimetallic catalysts. These scaling-relation-imposed limitations could be overcome by combining different classes of materials such as metals and oxides.