Periodic, self-consistent density functional theory calculations (DFT-GGA-PW91) on Pt(1 1 1) and Pt3Re(1 1 1) surfaces, reaction kinetics measurements, and microkinetic modeling are employed to study the mechanism of the water–gas shift (WGS) reaction over Pt and Pt–Re catalysts. The values of the reaction rates and reaction orders predicted by the model are in agreement with the ones experimentally determined; the calculated apparent activation energies are matched to within 6 % of the experimental values. The primary reaction pathway is predicted to take place through adsorbed carboxyl (COOH) species, whereas formate (HCOO) is predicted to be a spectator species. We conclude that the clean Pt(1 1 1) is a good representation of the active site for the WGS reaction on Pt catalysts, whereas the active sites on the Pt–Re alloy catalyst likely contain partially oxidized metal ensembles.
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