Prof. Dr. Andrzej Kowal - Abstract

Sustaining Energy from Ethanol:
Design, Synthesis and Characterization of Nanocatalysts for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells and Ethanol Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Creating new, efficient, and environmentally friendly methods for transforming chemical energy into electricity is one of the most important tasks facing chemistry in the 21st century. Such transformations can be realized in fuel cells. Ethanol, with its high energy density, likely production from renewable sources and ease of storage and transportation, is almost the ideal combustible for fuel cells. The possibility of obtaining electrical energy from bio-ethanol has drawn increased attention in Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells (DEFC). There is a renewed interest in DEFC, particularly for portable electronics and mobile applications. Currently available commercial platinum nanocatalysts do not ensure complete combustion of ethanol. Two-component catalysts containing Pt and MeOx, characterized by higher selectivity, are still not satisfactory. The most promising catalyst, which effectively oxidizes ethanol and splits the C-C bond in ethanol at room temperature, was designed, prepared and characterized in 2005-2009 [1- 4]. This catalyst is composed of SnO2 nanoparticles bonded with PtRh nanoparticles.
The Ethanol Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (ESOFC) has been realized as a device composed of an external reformer and a classical solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Nano-oxides such as SnO2, SnO2/Sb, CeO2 and TiO2 were prepared. The physicochemical properties of synthesized oxides were evaluated using DLS, XRD and HRTEM [5]. After oxide deposition on nickel foam the catalytic systems (oxide/Ni) were tested in the external reformer and SOFC.