Among the various proposals to replace the current energy matrix based on fossil fuels, with renewable and sustainable sources, there are the so-called fuel cells, devices that directly convert chemical energy into electricity. Although hydrogen is one of the most viable substances for use in fuel cells, its production and storage are still a challenge. Other alternatives extensively studied are small organic molecules, such as methanol, ethanol, formic acid, ethylene glycol, glycerol, etc. Since the 1960s, research has shown the advantages of methanol and formic acid as fuels, but their uses still run up against the high cost of catalysts, which are generally composed of noble metals, with platinum being one of the main ones. Studying the mechanisms of the electro-oxidation reactions of these molecules can help in the development of more efficient and inexpensive catalysts, and for that, the researchers have used different electrochemical techniques to obtain experimental kinetic parameters, which, after being treated according to theoretical models of each technique, are used to try to explain the mechanisms. Despite many years of research, the electro-oxidation of small organic molecules is still not fully understood. For a mechanistic proposal to be valid, it cannot contradict the different data obtained by kinetic, spectroscopic and theoretical-computational studies. The main objective of this project, will be to review and compare the main strategies used to obtain kinetic parameters in the electro-oxidation of small organic molecules, experimentally testing their reproducibility and suitability for different reaction conditions.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: