Direct glycerol fuel cell with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) thin film separator
Abstract Anion-exchange membrane-based direct glycerol fuel cells (AEM-DGFCs) can yield high power density, however challenges exist in developing chemically stable AEMs. Here, we demonstrate a porous PTFE thin film, a well-known chemical, electro-chemical, and thermal robust material that can serve as a separator between anode and cathode, thus achieving high DGFC’s performance. A simple aqueous-phase reduction method was used to prepare carbon nanotube supported PdAg nanoparticles (PdAg/CNT) with an average particle size of 2.9 nm. A DGFC using a PTFE thin film without any further modification with PdAg/CNT anode catalyst exhibits a peak power density of 214.7 mW cm −2 at 80 °C, about 22.6% lower than a DGFC using a state-of-the-art AEM. We report a 5.8% decrease and 11.1% decrease in cell voltage for a PTFE thin film and AEM; similarly, the cell voltage degradation rate decreases from 1.2 to 0.8 mV h −1 for PTFE thin film, while for AEM, it decreases from 9.6 to 3.0 mV h −1 over an 80 h durability test period. Transmission electron microscopy results indicate that the average particle size of PdAg/CNT increases from 2.9 to 3.7 nm after 80 h discharge; this suggests that PdAg particle growth may be the main reason for the performance drop. Highlights Direct glycerol fuel cell with polytetrafluoroethylene thin film separator was developed. A membraneless fuel cell with a peak power density of 214.7 mW cm −2 was achieved. An 80 h durability test showed a smaller degradation rate on PTFE thin film fuel cell. The average particle size of PdAg/CNT increased from 2.9 nm to 3.7 nm during durability test. Graphical abstract [DISPLAY OMISSION]
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