Supported gold nanoparticles as anode catalyst for anion-exchange membrane-direct glycerol fuel cell (AEM-DGFC)

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The carbon supported Au nanoparticles (Au-NPs) catalyst with a small average size (3.5 nm) and narrow size distribution (2-6 nm) was synthesized by a solution phase-based nanocapsule method. The reactivity of glycerol oxidation on Au/C is much higher than that of methanol and ethylene glycol oxidations in alkaline electrolyte. The anion-exchange membrane-direct glycerol fuel cell (AEM-DGFC) with the Au/C anode catalyst and a Fe-based cathode catalyst shows high performances with both high-purity glycerol and crude glycerol fuel: the open circuit voltages (OCVs) are 0.67 and 0.66 V, and peak power densities are 57.9 and 30.7 mW cm -2 at 80 °C, respectively. Fed with crude glycerol, the Au/C anode catalyst-based AEM-DGFC also demonstrates high performance stability at 80 °C. The product analysis shows that the electrooxidation of glycerol on the Au/C anode catalyst in AEM-DGFCs favors production of deeper-oxidized chemicals: tartronic acid, mesoxalic acid and oxalic acid, which leads to higher fuel cell's Faradic efficiency. © 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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International Journal of Hydrogen Energy