A selective electrocatalyst–based direct methanol fuel cell operated at high concentrations of methanol

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Science Advances  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1700580
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700580

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Owing to the serious crossover of methanol from the anode to the cathode through the polymer electrolyte membrane, direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) usually use dilute methanol solutions as fuel. However, the use of high-concentration methanol is highly demanded to improve the energy density of a DMFC system. Instead of the conventional strategies (for example, improving the fuel-feed system, membrane development, modification of electrode, and water management), we demonstrate the use of selective electrocatalysts to run a DMFC at high concentrations of methanol. In particular, at an operating temperature of 80°C, the as-fabricated DMFC with core-shell-shell Au@Ag2S@Pt nanocomposites at the anode and core-shell Au@Pd nanoparticles at the cathode produces a maximum power density of 89.7 mW cm−2 at a methanol feed concentration of 10 M and maintains good performance at a methanol concentration of up to 15 M. The high selectivity of the electrocatalysts achieved through structural construction accounts for the successful operation of the DMFC at high concentrations of methanol.

  • Direct methanol fuel cell
  • Nanocomposite
  • nanoparticle
  • Electrocatalyst
  • High-concentration methanol

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