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Investigation of carbon-supported platinum-rare earth nanocatalysts for direct ethanol fuel cells

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Patricia Gon Corradini
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Química de São Carlos
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Joelma Perez; Denis Ricardo Martins de Godoi; Margarida Juri Saeki; Lucia Helena Mascaro Sales
Advisor: Joelma Perez

Direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC) systems are seen as candidates to fill the gap between demand and supply of electric electricity. However, the DEFC\'s performance does not encourage its large commercialization yet. One of the main efforts to increase the performance is obtaining more electroactive and stable anodic catalysts for the ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR). In this work, Pt-Sn-Rare Earth catalysts (La, Ce, Pr and Eu) were obtained and evaluated for EOR. The catalysts were synthesized using polyol method with some modifications; physically characterized by XDS, ICP, TGA, XRD, TEM, XPS and XAS techniques; the electrochemical characterization involved tests on three electrodes cell and on unit cell systems. The synthesis method promoted mean particle sizes between 3.0 and 4.5 nm for PtSnRE/C catalysts (RE: La, Ce, Pr and Eu), one of the smallest values reported for this type of material. By XRD, it was observed some degree of Pt-Sn alloy. The presence of Pt and Sn metallic, tin and platinum oxides, and rare earths in the form of mixed oxides were confirmed by XPS. The added metals promoted a fill of the Pt 5d band, as observed by XAS. Electrochemical characterizations indicated higher current density in the EOR for the ternary materials than Pt/C catalysts and PtSn/C 60:40, in most of cases. The accelerated aging tests indicated that, even with voltammetric profiles changes, the ternary catalysts had lower losses in the activity than the Pt/C and PtSn/C catalysts. By FTIR and HPLC, it was observed that the main products were acetaldehyde and acetic acid; and small concentration of CO2 was detected. The low addition of rare earths increased the electrocatalytic activity of Pt/C and PtSn/C catalysts probably because they promoted more oxidized species at low potentials, favoring the intermediates oxidation of the EOR, and contributed to PtSn/C catalysts stability. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/12189-8 - Investigation of platinum-rare earth nanocatalysts supported in carbon for direct ethanol fuel cells
Grantee:Patricia Gon Corradini
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate