(525g) Anode Catalyst Layers for Direct Liquid Fuel Cells

Rice-York, C. A., Tennessee Technological University
Beravelli, S., Tennessee Technological University
Bauskar, A., Tennessee Technological University

As technology demands for small personal portable electronic devices increases, so does the need for smaller more efficient power sources. Direct liquid fuel cells (DLFCs) have the potential to satisfy this market, due to their small size, portability, ability to ‘hot-refuel’ permitting 24/7 operation, and their high theoretical power densities. The current technology is limited by poor turnover efficiencies due to surface poison accumulation and fuel crossover inducing parasitic losses. Electrocatalytic efficiency remains a challenge for hydrocarbon-based liquid fuel cells. In this presentation, optimization of the anode catalyst layer for two hydrocarbon-based DLFCs, both methanol and formic acid, will be disused. To increase the electrocatalytic turnover efficiency the catalyst layers have been altered, either by: spontaneous ad-atom adsorption onto commercial catalyst, pore-formers to enhance mass transport, and strategic integration of sulfated zirconia superacid nanoparticles.  The catalyst layers were fabricated in-house and a full suite of analytical techniques are employed to unravel DLFC performance enhancement – scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), cyclic voltammetry (CV), etc.


NSF EPSCoR State-wide Grant and Start-up Funding Provided by the Center for Manufacturing Research