Direct ethanol fuel cells (DEFC) have emerged in the last years as a promising alternative of energy source for portable applications. Platinum is considered as one of the best catalysts for ethanol oxidation, although it can be poisoned at low potentials with reaction intermediates that block the reaction to proceed. Efforts to mitigate the poisoning of Pt have been concentrated on the addition of co-catalysts. The results have encouraged the use of Pt-rare earth-based anode catalysts in DEFC. Until now, binary PtLn/C and ternary PtSnLn/C catalysts (Ln: La, Ce, Pr and Eu) were tested for ethanol oxidation reaction in ultra-thin layer configuration and unit Solid Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (SPEFC) configuration. However, the improvement of the synthetic route is desired to aim at obtaining more homogeneity at particle size and better nanoparticles distribution of carbon support. The Institut de Chimie des Milieux et Matériaux de Poitiers is known for important research in synthesis of catalysts. For the abroad internship, the proposal involves: i) the synthesis of PtSnLn/C with different routes such as Bönnemann method, Bromide Anion Exchange method, microwave-assisted heating or another available approach and ii) the evaluation of the catalysts in acid and alkaline media. This information will be important to elucidate the rare earth elements effect on the PtSn materials and to correlate the physical proprieties of these electrodes to their activity.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: