Abstract Pd catalyst supported on Vulcan XC-72 carbon black was prepared by a modified polyol process. Its performance was compared with that of Pd/C catalyst prepared by impregnation reduction method by using NaBH4 as a reducing agent for formic acid electrooxidation. Their physical characterisations were tested by means of energy dispersive analysis of X-ray, X-ray diffraction and transmission electron micrographs. Their activities were presented by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry. The results show that the particle sizes of Pd/C catalysts prepared by modified polyol process and impregnation reduction method are 3.9 and 7.9 nm, respectively. The size dispersion of the former is narrower and more homogeneous than that of the latter. However, both of Pd/C catalysts display the characteristic diffraction peaks of a Pd face-centred cubic (f.c.c.) crystal structure. The results of electrochemical measurements present that the Pd/C catalyst prepared by modified polyol process has the higher electrocatalytic activity and stability for formic acid electrooxidation in comparison to the Pd/C one by impregnation reduction method due to the particle size effect, and its peak current density of CV and the current of chronoamperometric curve at 1,000 s reach 33.2 and 11.2 mA cm–2, respectively.
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