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Development of direct alkaline alcohool fuel cells: production of devices with high power density


This research project aims to prepare, characterize and apply noble metal catalysts of the platinum group for the oxidation of ethanol and glycerol in alkaline medium. Noble metal catalysts (Pt and Pd) are frequently used in direct alcohol directly fuel cell (DAFC) and it a subject that has been investigate for several decades, however, the major drawback for commercial application of these cells for devices power generation is the lower power obtained in acid medium. Actually, they reach values of 50 mW cm-2 for ethanol. Recently, the scientific community has focused on the application in alkaline medium since the kinetics of reactions involved are favored. Thus, this research project intends to develop fuel cells for ethanol and glycerol with high power densities, following parameters it will be investigated: (i) change of the reactional medium: analysis of the performance of catalysts in alkaline DAFC (ii ) preparation of new catalyst compositions and composition PdMN PdM (M, N = Sn, Ni, Ru, W, Ir, etc.) as noble metals. The method of preparation of the catalysts to be used will be the microwave assited heating and the Pechini method. The physical characterization of the electrocatalysts will be investigated by: Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-ray Dispersive Energy diffraction of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and XANES. The electrochemical characterization will be performed by cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, chronoamperometry and CO-stripping technique. Controlled potential electrolysis and analysis of products will be performed by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The electrolysis reaction products will be identified by chromatography to establish the reaction mechanism. FTIR studies will be also carried out to verify the intermediates formed in alkaline medium. Finally, power density tests will be performed to test the cell performance, durability and stability of the electrocatalysts. (AU)

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