The electooxidation reactions of small organic molecules are of utmost relevance in energy conversion systems such as fuel cell. In this aspect, ethylene-glycol (EG) can be viewed as an interesting alternative to methanol, mainly due to its: (a) similar energy density, (b) low toxicity, and (c) low volatility. From the fundamental point of view, however, the presence of the C-C bond in the EG molecule results in a considerable increasing of the mechanistic complexity. Overall, the present project deals with the systematic investigation of the kinetic and dynamical aspects associated to the electrocatalytic oxidation reaction of EG on nickel electrodes in alkaline media. Together with classical electrochemical techniques, the mass changes at the electrode surface will be monitored by means of the quartz crystal nanobalance. Through the nanogravimetric experiments it is still expected to infer about the nature of the oscillations under both galvanostatic and potentiostatic controls. Additionally, experiments at different temperatures will be carried out, aiming at to obtain parameters such as the apparent activation energy. In more general terms, it is planned in the frame of the present project to investigate whether it is possible to use information obtained under far from equilibrium conditions to shed light in the electrocatalytic mechanism itself.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: