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Electrocatalysts for Alcohol Oxidation in Fuel Cells

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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<p>
	Higher current indicates higher activity for catalyzing methanol oxidation in a fuel cell. Here the ternary electrocatalyst is comparable to the best commercially available catalyst for methanol oxidation.</p>

Higher current indicates higher activity for catalyzing methanol oxidation in a fuel cell. Here the ternary electrocatalyst is comparable to the best commercially available catalyst for methanol oxidation.

Technology Marketing Summary

Platinum is an excellent catalyst and electrocatalyst. It is also expensive and vulnerable to poisoning by carbon monoxide in the reaction environment. By supporting platinum on nickel or cobalt tungstate, the amount of platinum necessary to achieve the same catalytic activity for oxidizing alcohol in a fuel cell is reduced, as is the tendency for the platinum to lose its activity during contact with carbon monoxide. Adding about ten percent ruthenium or molybdenum oxide to the binary catalysts improved the performance even more. The higher tolerance for carbon monoxide may also be exploited in fuel cells that use gaseous fuels, such as less-pure hydrogen.

Description

Tungstates of nickel or cobalt support a noble metal catalyst. A third component, such as ruthenium or molybdenum oxide, may be added to improve the catalytic activity of the binary electrocatalyst. Use of the tungstate support and oxide material increases the lifetime of the catalyst by reducing their tendency to be poisoned by carbon monoxide, which is produced during oxidation of alcohol in a direct alcohol fuel cell. The ternary electrocatalysts achieve catalytic activity on par with commercial platinum-ruthenium electrocatalysts, use less precious metal, and are more robust with respect to poisoning.

Benefits

These binary and ternary catalysts use less platinum than pure platinum or platinum-ruthenium catalysts, reducing the cost due to the precious metal component. In addition, the enhanced resistance to carbon monoxide poisoning allows the catalysts to be used longer before replacement, again reducing cost.

Applications and Industries

Substitute for platinum-based catalysts, fuel cells, direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), direct ethanol fuel cells (DEFC).

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 6,183,894
Patent
6,183,894
Electrocatalyst for alcohol oxidation in fuel cells
Binary and ternary electrocatalysts are provided for oxidizing alcohol in a fuel cell. The binary electrocatalyst includes 1) a substrate selected from the group consisting of NiWO.sub.4 or CoWO.sub.4 or a combination thereof, and 2) Group VIII noble metal catalyst supported on the substrate. The ternary electrocatalyst includes 1) a substrate as described above, and 2) a catalyst comprising Group VIII noble metal, and ruthenium oxide or molybdenum oxide or a combination thereof, said catalyst being supported on said substrate.
Brookhaven National Laboratory 02/06/2001
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BSA 99-05PrototypeAvailable04/01/201104/01/2011

Contact BNL About This Technology

To: Poornima Upadhya<pupadhya@bnl.gov>