(589e) An Increased Activity For The Direct Formic Acid Fuel Cell By The Addition Of Metal Adatoms To The Palladium Black Anode Catalyst

Haan, J. L., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Masel, R. I., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dunbar, Z., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Small organic molecule fuel cells such as the direct formic acid fuel cell (DFAFC) show great promise to meet the demand of high power density for portable electronic devices. Despite the many advantages of the DFAFC, a primary goal of research is to enhance its sluggish anode kinetics through study of the palladium catalyst. This work reports that the addition of metal adatoms to the palladium black catalyst results in an increase in the activity for formic acid oxidation at the anode. The metal adatoms which show significant enhancement upon addition to palladium include lead, cadmium, silver, and bismuth. Each of these elements exhibits underpotential deposition behavior on palladium by which more than one monolayer of electrodeposition is unfavorable at potentials greater than its standard reduction potential. Therefore, it is possible through electrochemistry to add adatoms to the surface in a controlled manner with sufficient palladium left exposed. These adatoms hold promise for an enhancement to the sluggish anode kinetics in the DFAFC.