J.P. Espinós, V.J. Rico, J. González-Cobos, J.R. Sánchez-Valencia, V. Pérez-Dieste, C. Escudero, A. de Lucas-Consuegra, A.R. González-Elipe

Journal of Catalysis 358 (2018) 27–34

DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2017.11.027

In this work we investigate by in-situ near-ambient pressure photoemission (NAPP) spectroscopy the phenomenon of Electrochemical Promotion of Catalysis (EPOC). We studied the reduction and diffusion kinetics of alkaline ions in a solid electrolyte cell formed by a nickel electrode supported on K+-b-alumina electrolyte. Experiments in ultra-high vacuum and in the presence of steam showed that the amount of potassium atoms supplied to the surface is probably affected by nickel electronic  modifications induced by adsorbed OH groups. It was also deduced that part of the segregated potassium would be adsorbed at inner interfaces where it would be inaccessible to the photoelectron analyzer. A migration mechanism of the promoter is proposed consisting in: (i) the electrochemical reduction of the alkali ions (potassium) at the Ni/solid electrolyte/gas interface; (ii) the spillover of potassium atoms onto the Ni gas-exposed surface; and (iii) the diffusion of potassium atoms to Ni inner grain boundary interfaces.

In situ monitoring of the phenomenon of electrochemical promotion of catalysis