Special Issue "Recent Advances of Electrocatalysis in Fuel Cells"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Kotaro Sasaki

Chemistry Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: electrocatalysis; fuel cells; direct energy conversion; nanotechnology; nanomaterial characterization by in situ XAS; surface modifications by electrochemical methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fuel cells are widely considered as a potentially highly-efficient and clean energy systems. Regardless of the considerable advances in recent years, technical and economic barriers still exist in developing electrocatalysts, which play an essential role in fuel cell operations. The slow kinetics of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) cathodes, even on the best Pt catalysts, causes a significant loss in cell voltage, thereby lowering the efficiency of energy conversion in the system. As a result, high Pt loading is required in cathode electrocatalysts. Durability is also critical for fuel-cell cathodes because of the very harsh conditions under which they operate, viz., low pH, dissolved molecular oxygen, and high positive potentials. On the other hand, liquid fuels, especially methanol and ethanol, are considered as potential alternatives to hydrogen fuel in PEMFCs due to their high-energy density and the ease of their storage and transportation. However, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning also takes place during the methanol oxidation reaction (MOR). The tardiness of MOR at the anode is more prominent than that of ORR at the cathode, adversely affecting the performance of direct methanol oxidation fuel cells (DMFCs). Ethanol is a non-toxic renewable energy source that can be be produced from agricultural products; however, the commercialization of direct ethanol oxidation fuel cells (DEFCs) is considered more difficult than that of DMFCs, because the kinetics of ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR) are slower than those of MOR, even for the best available catalysts. Further development of more-efficient electrocatalysts for both cathodes and anodes is therefore necessary. This Special Issue aims to cover the most recent advances in fuel cell electrocatalysts to alleviate the current situations/drawbacks and to provide a better understanding in the development of high-performing fuel cells.

Dr. Kotaro Sasaki
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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  • Proton/anion exchange membrane fuel cells
  • Direct alcohol fuel cells
  • Low Pt-group-metal (PGM) electrocatalysts
  • Non-PGM electrocatalysts
  • Oxygen reduction reaction
  • Methanol oxidation reaction
  • Ethanol oxidation reaction
  • Hydrogen oxidation reaction
  • Core-shell structures
  • Density function theory

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Anodes of Microbial Fuel Cells When Carbon Brushes Are Preheated at Different Temperatures
Catalysts 2017, 7(11), 312; doi:10.3390/catal7110312
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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The anode electrode is one of the most important components in all microbial electrochemical technologies (METs). Anode materials pretreatment and modification have been shown to be an effective method of improving anode performance. According to mass loss analysis during carbon fiber heating, five
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The anode electrode is one of the most important components in all microbial electrochemical technologies (METs). Anode materials pretreatment and modification have been shown to be an effective method of improving anode performance. According to mass loss analysis during carbon fiber heating, five temperatures (300, 450, 500, 600, and 750 °C) were selected as the pre-heating temperatures of carbon fiber brush anodes. Microbial fuel cell (MFC) reactors built up with these pre-heated carbon brush anodes performed with different power densities and Coulombic efficiencies (CEs). Two kinds of measuring methods for power density were applied, and the numerical values of maximum power densities diverged greatly. Reactors with 450 °C anodes, using both methods, had the highest power densities, and the highest CEs were found using 500 °C anode reactors. The surface elements of heat-treated carbon fibers were analyzed using X-ray photoelectron spectra (XPS), and C, O, and N were the main constituents of the carbon fiber. There were four forms of N1s at the surface of the polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based carbon fiber, and their concentrations were different at different temperature samples. The microbial community of the anode surface was analyzed, and microbial species on anodes from every sample were similar. The differences in anode performance may be caused by mass loss and by the surface elements. For carbon brush anodes used in MFCs or other BESs, 450–500 °C preheating was the most suitable temperature range in terms of the power densities and CEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Electrocatalysis in Fuel Cells)

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