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The Catalytic Activity of Pt:Ru Nanoparticles for Ethylene Glycol and Ethanol Electrooxidation in a Direct Alcohol Fuel Cell

  • Silva, Júlio César M.1
  • Ntais, Spyridon2
  • Rajaraman, Vishwanathan2
  • Teixeira-Neto, Érico3
  • Teixeira-Neto, Ângela A.3
  • Neto, Almir O.4
  • Antoniassi, Rodolfo M.4
  • Spinacé, Estevam V.4
  • Baranova, Elena A.2
  • 1 Instituto de Química da Universidade Federal Fluminense, Grupo de Eletroquímica e Materiais Nanoestruturados, Campus Valonguinho, Niterói, RJ, CEP 24020-141, Brazil , Niterói (Brazil)
  • 2 University of Ottawa, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation (CCRI), 161 Louis-Pasteur, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
  • 3 Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials, Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory, Rua Giuseppe Máximo Scolfaro, 10.000, Campinas, SP, 13085-903, Brazil , Campinas (Brazil)
  • 4 Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares, IPEN/CNEN-SP, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 2242 Cidade Universitaria, São Paulo, SP, CEP 05508-900, Brazil , São Paulo (Brazil)
Published Article
Springer US
Publication Date
Mar 08, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s12678-019-00515-8
Springer Nature


In this study, we investigated the carbon-supported PtRu nanoparticles with atomic ratios of Pt:Ru of 100:0, 90:10, 70:30, and 50:50 for ethanol and ethylene glycol electrooxidation in alkaline media. The nanoparticles were synthesized using sodium borohydride method with 20 wt% of metals loading on carbon. The nanoparticle mean sizes were 7.3 nm, 5.7 nm, 5.2 nm, and 5.1 nm for Pt/C, Pt90Ru10/C, Pt70Ru30/C, and Pt50Ru50/C, respectively. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis revealed that Pt and PtRu electrocatalysts have face-centered cubic (fcc) structure and suggests the alloy formation for all PtRu/C materials, which was further supported by the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Based on XPS analysis, Pt50Ru50/C has higher amount of Pt oxides on the surface than Pt70Ru30/C. Electrochemical results demonstrated that the addition of Ru to Pt enhances the catalytic activity towards ethanol and ethylene glycol electrooxidadion. The catalyst of Pt50Ru50/C composition showed the lowest onset potential for ethanol and ethylene glycol electrooxidation, which were 160 and 70 mV lower than for Pt/C, respectively. Furthermore, this catalyst outperformed Pt/C and other PtRu/C compositions in chronoamperometric and direct alcohol fuel cell (DAFC) experiments. DAFC experiments using Pt50Ru50/C as anode had the power density 40 and 14% higher than using Pt/C for ethanol and ethylene glycol, respectively. The promotion is due to the bi-functional mechanism and/or electronic effect of two metals in the alloy.

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