The research aims to perform fundamental studies specially on the mechanistic aspects of the electro-oxidation reactions of ethanol, glycerol, and other organic molecules Cn on well-defined single crystal surfaces. It also contemplates the synthesis and characterization of nanostructured electrocatalysts formed by the combination of metals and oxides of noble metals and non-noble catalysts for the oxidation reactions of ethanol, glycerol, and other organic molecules Cn, with and without photon assistance. These electrocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic studies, in a fundamental level, will involve quantitative determination of the reaction intermediates and products by in situ FTIR spectroscopy, on-line differential electrochemistry mass spectrometry, liquid and ion chromatographies. Gas chromatography also can be employed using electrochemical half-cell with stagnant and flow (under conditions of controlled mass transport) electrolytes. The investigations will include correlations between electrocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic activity and stability with the composition and structure of the nanoparticles. The applied studies will be carried out in a PEM type unitary fuel cell using electrodes of 5 cm ² feed with ethanol or glycerol at the anode and oxygen at the cathode, for evaluation of current density and energy efficiency. Current distribution measurements will be made in order to improve the conditions of preparation of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), with the focus on the cell operation conditions. These studies will also involve the quantitative determination of the reaction products using techniques such as mass spectrometry, gas, liquid and ion chromatographies. These operational studies on fuel cells with and without UV light assistance will be carried out on the most active electrocatalysts and photoelectrocatalysts investigated in the previous stages.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: