Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 147–158 | Cite as

Ethanol oxidation on a high temperature PBI-based DEFC using Pt/C, PtRu/C and Pt3Sn/C as catalysts

  • José J. Linares
  • Sabrina C. Zignani
  • Thairo A. Rocha
  • Ernesto R. Gonzalez
Original Paper


A high temperature ethanol-fed polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell has been implemented by using H3PO4-doped m-polybenzimidazole as polymeric electrolyte. Commercial Pt/C, PtRu/C and Pt3Sn/C catalysts are used in the anode. The performance was assessed in terms of polarization curves at different temperatures, feeding the cell with a high concentration ethanol solution (water/ethanol mass ratio of 2). The product distribution was measured with the support of a gas chromatograph. The use of bimetallic catalysts increased the current density. PtRu/C showed the best performance up to 175 °C, but it is outperformed by Pt3Sn/C at 200 °C. In terms of oxidation products, higher temperatures and current densities favour the oxidation of ethanol. However, Pt3Sn/C promoted the generation of more oxidized products compared to PtRu/C (in which most of the ethanol is oxidized to acetaldehyde), especially at high temperature. This accounts for the large current density. In terms of complete oxidation of ethanol to CO2, Pt/C was by far the most efficient catalyst for C–C scission, achieving percentages of 56 % of CO2, although operating above 175 °C dramatically boosted an undesirable methanation process that slashed the efficiency. The combination of fuel cell results and product distribution helped to suggest the different oxidation routes on the surface of the different catalysts.


PEMFC Ethanol Oxidation products High temperature Polybenzimidazole Catalysts 



Authors want to thank to the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), and the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for the financial support. In particular, Thairo A. Rocha thanks to the CNPq (Proc. 160459/2011-7) for a Master Degree scholarship, Sabrina C. Zignani thanks CNPq (Proc. 141545/2009-7) for a doctoral scholarship, and José J. Linares thanks FAPESP for a post-doctoral fellowship (Proc. 2010/07108-3).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • José J. Linares
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sabrina C. Zignani
    • 1
  • Thairo A. Rocha
    • 1
  • Ernesto R. Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Química de SãoCarlosUSPSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto de QuímicaUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil

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