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Research Papers

# Optimization of Mesh-Based Anodes for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Raghuram Chetty

School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK; Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum D-44801, Germany; Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600 036, Indiaraghuc@iitm.ac.in

Keith Scott

School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UKk.scott@ncl.ac.uk

Shankhamala Kundu, Martin Muhler

Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum D-44801, Germany

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(3), 031011 (Mar 12, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3117605 History: Received October 04, 2007; Revised October 16, 2008; Published March 12, 2010; Online March 12, 2010

## Abstract

Platinum based binary and ternary catalysts were prepared by thermal decomposition onto a titanium mesh and were evaluated for the anodic oxidation of methanol. The binary Pt:Ru catalyst with a composition of 1:1 gave the highest performance for methanol oxidation at $80°C$. The effect of temperature and time for thermal decomposition was optimized with respect to methanol oxidation, and the catalysts were characterized by cyclic voltammetry, linear sweep voltammetry, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction studies, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The best catalyst was evaluated in a single fuel cell, and the effect of methanol concentration, temperature, and oxygen/air flow was studied. The mesh-based fuel cell, operating at $80°C$ with $1 mol dm3$ methanol, gave maximum power densities of $38 mW cm−2$ and $22 mW cm−2$ with 1 bar (gauge) oxygen and air, respectively.

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## Figures

Figure 6

Linear sweep voltammograms (scan rate of 1 mV s−1) showing the effect of calcination temperature on PtRu/Ti anodes for the oxidation of 1 mol dm−3 methanol in 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4 at 80°C; inset showing the chronoamperometric response recorded at 400 mV (versus SHE): (a) 200°C, (b) 300°C, (c) 400°C, (d) 430°C, and (e) 500°C

Figure 7

Chronoamperometric response recorded at 400 mV (SHE), showing the effect of calcination time on the activity of PtRu/Ti anodes for the oxidation of 1 mol dm−3 methanol in 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4 at 80°C: (a) 30 min, (b) 45 min, (c) 60 min, and (d) 90 min

Figure 8

The effect of catalyst loading on the activity of PtRu/Ti anodes, data taken from linear sweep voltammetry performed at a scan rate of 1 mV s−1 in 1 mol dm−3 methanol and 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4 at 80°C. The anodes were prepared by heating at 430°C for 60 min. Current densities at 0.3 V (◻), 0.4 V (○), and 0.5 V (△).

Figure 9

Linear sweep voltammograms for the oxidation of 1 mol dm−3 methanol in 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4 at 1 mV s−1 scan rate and 80°C on thermally decomposed PtRu/Ti electrode with varying Pt:Ru ratios: (a) Ru, (b) Pt, (c) Pt1:Ru2, (d) Pt1.25:Ru1, (e) Pt1.5:Ru1, and (f) Pt1:Ru1

Figure 10

(i) Tafel plots of methanol oxidation for the ternary catalysts obtained at a sweep rate of 1 mV s−1 and 80°C for 1 mol dm−3 methanol in 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4. (ii) Current density versus time curve of ternary platinum metal catalysts measured at 400 mV (versus SHE). Elemental compositions (at. %) are (a) Pt1Ru1, (b) Pt1Ru0.8Cr0.2, (c) Pt1Ru0.8Sn0.2, (d) Pt1Ru0.8Ni0.2, (e) Pt1Ru0.8Pd0.2, and (f) Pt1Ru0.8Rh0.2

Figure 12

Effect of temperature on cell performance. Other conditions are the same as Fig. 1 with 2 mol dm−3 methanol. Current density (open symbol) and power density (blocked symbol) for 30°C (○, ●), 60°C (◻, ◼), and 80°C (△, ▲).

Figure 13

Polarization plot showing the effect of oxygen and air back pressure for thermally decomposed PtRu/Ti anode and Pt/C cathode catalysts measured at 80°C with 2 mol dm−3 methanol. Other conditions are the same as Fig. 1. Oxygen 0 bar (gauge) (●), 1 bar (gauge) (◼) and air 0 bar (gauge) (▼), 1 bar (gauge) (▲).

Figure 3

X-ray diffraction patterns for (a) Ti mesh, (b) thermally decomposed Pt/Ti, (c) thermally decomposed PtRu/Ti, and (d) E-TEK PtRu/C

Figure 2

Scanning electron micrograph of (a) titanium mesh and (b) thermally decomposed PtRu

Figure 1

Schematics of (a) conventional carbon anode and (b) mesh-based anode: (i) polymer electrolyte membrane, (ii) catalyst layer, (iii) microporous layer, (iv) carbon backing layer, and (v) titanium mesh

Figure 11

Fuel cell polarization data for thermally decomposed PtRu/Ti anode and Pt/C cathode catalysts measured at 80°C, and 1 bar oxygen for various methanol concentrations. Cathode catalyst: 2.0 mg cm−2, 60 wt % Pt/C (E-TEK) and anode catalyst loading: 2 mg cm−2. Current density (open symbol) and power density (blocked symbol) for 0.5 mol dm−3 (○, ●), 1 mol dm−3 (◻, ◼), 2 mol dm−3 (△, ▲), and 4 mol dm−3 (▼, ▽) methanol.

Figure 5

Cyclic voltammograms for the oxidation of 1 mol dm−3 methanol in 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4 at 20 mV s−1 scan rate and room temperature on thermally decomposed (a) Pt//Ti and (b) PtRu/Ti; inset showing the cyclic voltammogram of Pt/Ti in 0.5 mol dm−3H2SO4

Figure 4

X-ray photoelectron spectra of thermally decomposed PtRu catalyst on titanium substrate, showing (a) Pt 4f, (b) Ru 3p, (c) O 1s, and (d) Ti 2p regions

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