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Electrocatalyst for Alcohol Oxidation at Fuel Cell Anodes

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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<p>
	Scanning transmission electron micrograph showing uniform dispersion of the catalyst particles (bright spots) on the carbon support (dark background). The average particle size is about 1.5&nbsp;nm.</p>

Scanning transmission electron micrograph showing uniform dispersion of the catalyst particles (bright spots) on the carbon support (dark background). The average particle size is about 1.5 nm.

Technology Marketing Summary

Ethanol and other alcohols are nearly ideal reactants for fuel cells. Unfortunately they are difficult to oxidize, requiring breaking of carbon-carbon bonds. This ternary catalyst consisting of platinum and rhodium on carbon-supported tin dioxide nanoparticles effectively splits the carbon-carbon bonds of alcohols at room temperature in acid solutions. Other catalysts require much higher applied voltages to split the bonds, making them impractical for use in a power source such as a fuel cell.

Description

A ternary catalyst composition including platinum, rhodium, and tin dioxide can be used to oxidize alcohols to carbon dioxide in fuel cells. The catalyst may consist of clusters of a noble metal (such as platinum) and rhodium on the surface of tin dioxide nanoparticles. Another form of the catalysts is a noble metal core with clusters of rhodium and tin dioxide on its surface. The ternary catalyst may be supported by carbon and formed into an anode for a fuel cell.

Benefits

The ternary electrocatalyst composite offers high catalytic activity for ethanol oxidation at lower cost than bulk platinum/carbon catalysts

Applications and Industries

Fuel cell catalysts; ethanol oxidation; heterogeneous catalysis.

More Information

Kowal, et al., “Ternary Pt/Rh/SnO2 electrocatalysts for oxidizing ethanol to CO2,” Nature Materials. 8, 325 (2009) http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/v8/n4/full/nmat2359.html

Press Release

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 8,048,548
Patent
8,048,548
Electrocatalyst for alcohol oxidation at fuel cell anodes
In some embodiments a ternary electrocatalyst is provided. The electrocatalyst can be used in an anode for oxidizing alcohol in a fuel cell. In some embodiments, the ternary electrocatalyst may include a noble metal particle having a surface decorated with clusters of SnO.sub.2 and Rh. The noble metal particles may include platinum, palladium, ruthenium, iridium, gold, and combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the ternary electrocatalyst includes SnO.sub.2 particles having a surface decorated with clusters of a noble metal and Rh. Some ternary electrocatalysts include noble metal particles with clusters of SnO.sub.2 and Rh at their surfaces. In some embodiments the electrocatalyst particle cores are nanoparticles. Some embodiments of the invention provide a fuel cell including an anode incorporating the ternary electrocatalyst. In some aspects a method of using ternary electrocatalysts of Pt, Rh, and SnO.sub.2 to oxidize an alcohol in a fuel cell is described.
Brookhaven National Laboratory 11/01/2011
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BSA 07-27PrototypeAvailable04/01/201104/01/2011

Contact BNL About This Technology

To: Poornima Upadhya<pupadhya@bnl.gov>