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Special Issue "Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Francesco Lufrano

CNR-ITAE Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies “N. Giordano”, Via Salita S. Lucia sopra Contesse 5, Messina 98126, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: direct alcohol fuel cells systems; polymer electrolytes and membranes; nano carbon materials; fuel cell electrochemistry; electrochemical supercapacitors; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
Guest Editor
Dr. Antonino S. Aricò

CNR-ITAE Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies “N. Giordano”, Via Salita S. Lucia sopra Contesse 5, Messina 98126, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: direct alcohol fuel cells systems; fuel cell electrocatalysts; physico-chemical properties of fuel cell components; reaction kinetics; portable systems; distributed energy generation; electrochemical analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Vincenzo Baglio

CNR-ITAE Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies “N. Giordano”, Via Salita S. Lucia sopra Contesse 5, Messina 98126, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: direct alcohol fuel cells; electrocatalysis; polymer electrolyte fuel cells; water electrolysis; metal–air batteries; dye-sensitized solar cells; photo-electrolysis; carbon dioxide electro-reduction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Direct alcohol fuel cells (DAFCs) are emerging technologies for electrochemical conversion of the chemical energy of an alcohol fuel, directly into electrical energy, with low environmental impact and high-energy efficiency. However, before this technology can reach a large-scale diffusion, specific issues related to unsatisfactory electrochemical performance, high cost of cell components and limited fuel cell durability must be solved. In a direct alcohol fuel cell system, high capital costs mainly derive from the use of noble metal catalysts, perfluorosulfonate polymer electrolyte membranes and expensive bipolar plates. Therefore, the development of cost-effective and highly performing polymer electrolyte membranes, enhanced electro-catalysts and cheap bipolar plates, satisfying the target requirements of high performance and durability, represents an important challenge. The research is currently addressed to cost-effective materials, such as novel hydrocarbon membranes and low precious metal loading electrodes for applications in DAFC systems. These can find wide application in portable, distributed and remote electrical energy generation. Papers addressing components, systems, reaction mechanisms, cost analysis, cross-over, performance and durability of direct alcohol fuel cells are solicited. Technical papers dealing with recent results and advances in the field of alcohol fed fuel cells, featured papers, review articles providing an analysis of the state-of-the-art and future perspectives for this technology are warmly invited. We look forward receiving your contribution.

Dr. Francesco Lufrano
Dr. Antonino S. Aricò
Dr. Vincenzo Baglio
Guest Editors

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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • fundamentals of direct alcohol fuel cells
  • reaction mechanisms
  • fuel cell electrochemistry
  • polymer electrolyte membranes
  • electrocatalysts
  • electrodes
  • bipolar plates
  • cell and stack technology
  • fuel cell systems and applications
  • numerical modelling and simulation
  • cost analysis

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle In Situ Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Study of the Electrocatalytic Effect of PtFe/C Nanocatalyst on Ethanol Electro-Oxidation in Alkaline Medium
Energies 2017, 10(3), 290; doi:10.3390/en10030290
Received: 19 December 2016 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
PDF Full-text (3676 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, the ethanol electro-oxidation reaction has attracted considerable attention in fuel cells because of new green ethanol synthetic methods based on biomass processes that have emerged. In this study, PtFe/C and Pt/C nanoparticles were synthesized by a chemical reduction method and tested in
[...] Read more.
Currently, the ethanol electro-oxidation reaction has attracted considerable attention in fuel cells because of new green ethanol synthetic methods based on biomass processes that have emerged. In this study, PtFe/C and Pt/C nanoparticles were synthesized by a chemical reduction method and tested in the ethanol electro-oxidation reaction. Furthermore, the electrocatalytic effect of the PtFe bimetallic catalyst was analyzed by in situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) coupled to an electrochemical cell. X-ray diffractograms showed typical face-centered cubic structures with crystallite sizes of 3.31 and 3.94 for Pt/C and PtFe/C, respectively. TEM micrographs revealed nanoparticle sizes of 2 ± 0.4 nm and 3 ± 0.6 nm for Pt/C and PtFe/C respectively. PtFe/C exhibited a Pt90Fe10 composition by both X-ray fluorescence and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. A better electrocatalytic activity as function of concentration was obtained through the incorporation of a small amount of Fe into the Pt lattice and the presence of Fe2+/Fe3+ (observed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy). According to SERS experiments, the presence of these iron species promotes the chemisorption of ethanol, the formation of formic acid as main product and renewal of the catalytic sites, resulting in current densities that were at least three fold higher than the values obtained for the Pt/C nanocatalyst. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Nafion-Ceria Composite Membrane Electrolyte for Reduced Methanol Crossover in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Energies 2017, 10(2), 259; doi:10.3390/en10020259
Received: 7 January 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3072 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An alternative Nafion composite membrane was prepared by incorporating various loadings of CeO2 nanoparticles into the Nafion matrix and evaluated its potential application in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The effects of CeO2 in the Nafion matrix were systematically studied in
[...] Read more.
An alternative Nafion composite membrane was prepared by incorporating various loadings of CeO2 nanoparticles into the Nafion matrix and evaluated its potential application in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The effects of CeO2 in the Nafion matrix were systematically studied in terms of surface morphology, thermal and mechanical stability, proton conductivity and methanol permeability. The composite membrane with optimum filler content (1 wt. % CeO2) exhibits a proton conductivity of 176 mS·cm−1 at 70 °C, which is about 30% higher than that of the unmodified membrane. Moreover, all the composite membranes possess a much lower methanol crossover compared to pristine Nafion membrane. In a single cell DMFC test, MEA fabricated with the optimized composite membrane delivered a peak power density of 120 mW·cm−2 at 70 °C, which is about two times higher in comparison with the pristine Nafion membrane under identical operating conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of the Dendrimer Generation Used in the Synthesis of Pt-Ru Nanoparticles Supported on Carbon Nanofibers on the Catalytic Activity towards Methanol Oxidation
Energies 2017, 10(2), 159; doi:10.3390/en10020159
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 12 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pt-Ru nanoparticles supported on carbon nanofibers (CNF) were synthesized by the sodium borohydride reduction method, using different generation dendrimers (zero, one, two and three generations). After the synthesis process, these materials were submitted to a heat treatment at 350 °C, in order to
[...] Read more.
Pt-Ru nanoparticles supported on carbon nanofibers (CNF) were synthesized by the sodium borohydride reduction method, using different generation dendrimers (zero, one, two and three generations). After the synthesis process, these materials were submitted to a heat treatment at 350 °C, in order to clean the nanoparticle surface of organic residues. TEM characterization showed that the Pt-Ru nanoparticles size ranged between 1.9 and 5.5 nm. The use of dendrimers did not totally avoid the formation of aggregates, although monodisperse sizes were observed. The heat treatment produces the desired surface cleaning, although promoted the formation of agglomerates and crystalline Ru oxides. The study of the electrochemical activity towards the methanol oxidation displayed some clues about the influence of both the dendrimer generation and the presence of Ru oxides. Moreover, the apparent activation energy Eap for this reaction was determined. The results showed a beneficial effect of the heat treatment on the methanol oxidation current densities for the materials synthesized with the biggest dendrimers, being the methanol deprotonation and COad diffusion the predominant rate determining steps (rds). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Cost Analysis of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Stacks for Mass Production
Energies 2016, 9(12), 1008; doi:10.3390/en9121008
Received: 22 July 2016 / Revised: 15 October 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2496 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fuel cells are very promising technologies for efficient electrical energy generation. The development of enhanced system components and new engineering solutions is fundamental for the large-scale deployment of these devices. Besides automotive and stationary applications, fuel cells can be widely used as auxiliary
[...] Read more.
Fuel cells are very promising technologies for efficient electrical energy generation. The development of enhanced system components and new engineering solutions is fundamental for the large-scale deployment of these devices. Besides automotive and stationary applications, fuel cells can be widely used as auxiliary power units (APUs). The concept of a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) is based on the direct feed of a methanol solution to the fuel cell anode, thus simplifying safety, delivery, and fuel distribution issues typical of conventional hydrogen-fed polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEMFCs). In order to evaluate the feasibility of concrete application of DMFC devices, a cost analysis study was carried out in the present work. A 200 W-prototype developed in the framework of a European Project (DURAMET) was selected as the model system. The DMFC stack had a modular structure allowing for a detailed evaluation of cost characteristics related to the specific components. A scale-down approach, focusing on the model device and projected to a mass production, was used. The data used in this analysis were obtained both from research laboratories and industry suppliers specialising in the manufacturing/production of specific stack components. This study demonstrates that mass production can give a concrete perspective for the large-scale diffusion of DMFCs as APUs. The results show that the cost derived for the DMFC stack is relatively close to that of competing technologies and that the introduction of innovative approaches can result in further cost savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Pt-Ni and Pt-M-Ni (M = Ru, Sn) Anode Catalysts for Low-Temperature Acidic Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells: A Review
Energies 2017, 10(1), 42; doi:10.3390/en10010042
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2384 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In view of a possible use as anode materials in acidic direct alcohol fuel cells, the electro-catalytic activity of Pt-Ni and Pt-M-Ni (M = Ru, Sn) catalysts for methanol and ethanol oxidation has been widely investigated. An overview of literature data regarding the
[...] Read more.
In view of a possible use as anode materials in acidic direct alcohol fuel cells, the electro-catalytic activity of Pt-Ni and Pt-M-Ni (M = Ru, Sn) catalysts for methanol and ethanol oxidation has been widely investigated. An overview of literature data regarding the effect of the addition of Ni to Pt and Pt-M on the methanol and ethanol oxidation activity in acid environment of the resulting binary and ternary Ni-containing Pt-based catalysts is presented, highlighting the effect of alloyed and non-alloyed nickel on the catalytic activity of these materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells)
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