The effect of methanol and ethanol cross-over on the performance of PtRu/C-based anode DAFCs
In the present work, the cross-over rates of methanol and ethanol, respectively, through Nafion®-115 membranes at different temperatures and different concentrations have been measured and compared. The changes of Nafion®-115 membrane porosity in the presence of methanol or ethanol aqueous solutions were also determined by weighing vacuum-dried and alcohol solution-equilibrated membranes. The techniques of anode polarization and adsorption stripping voltammetry were applied to compare the electrochemical activity and adsorption ability, respectively. To investigate the consequences of methanol and ethanol permeation from the anode to the cathode on the performance of direct alcohol fuel cells (DAFCs), single DAFC tests, with methanol or ethanol as the fuel, have been carried out and the corresponding anode and cathode polarizations versus dynamic hydrogen electrode (DHE) were also performed. The effect of alcohol concentration on the performance of PtRu/C anode-based DAFCs was investigated. It was found that ethanol shows lower cross-over rates than methanol through the Nafion ® membrane in spite of the higher membrane porosity resulted in presence of ethanol aqueous solutions. Furthermore, it was found that ethanol presents less negative effect on the cathode performance due to both its smaller permeability through Nafion® membrane and its slower electrochemical oxidation kinetics over Pt/C cathode. © 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.