(708b) Improved Operation of the Direct Formic Acid Fuel Cell by the Use of Electrochemically Modified Anode Catalysts

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

The direct formic acid fuel cell (DFAFC) was developed as an alternative energy source for portable electronic devices. The DFAFC uses a safer fuel that exhibits lower crossover than methanol. In the DFAFC, one area of losses is at the anode, where kinetics can be improved and poisoning reduced. It is possible to decrease these losses through the use of electrochemically modified catalysts. Performance of the palladium black anode catalyst is improved when adatoms such as antimony, lead, tin and vanadium are electrochemically added to the palladium surface without significantly altering the bulk catalyst composition. Improvements have been observed both in an operating fuel cell as well as a three electrode electrochemical cell.