International Journal of Industrial Engineering


                                                                              ISSN 2456-8449
ISSN 2456-8449

International Journal of Industrial Engineering, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2017, Pages 52-61.


Performance of sea water supported Pt–Sn–Mg/C catalyst for membraneless fuel cells
S. P. R. Kalaikathir, S. Begila David      

​Department of Chemistry, Women’s Christian College, Nagercoli  – 629 003, India.    
*Corresponding author’s e-mail:
The present work reports the performance of Pt–Sn–Mg/C ternary electrocatalysts on ethanol oxidation reaction in membraneless fuel cells prepared by thermal reduction method. A systematic investigation of ethanol adsorption and oxidation on binary and ternary electrocatalysts in sea water was performed in membraneless ethanol fuel cells. The different nominal compositions of binary Pt–Sn/C, Pt–Mg/C, and ternary Pt–Sn–Mg/C electrocatalysts were characterized by XRD, EDX, and TEM techniques. XRD and EDX confirmed the formation of Pt–Sn–Mg/C, Pt–Sn/C, and Pt–Mg/C metal catalyst with a typical Pt crystalline structure and the formation of Pt–Sn alloy. Electrochemical analyses obtained at room temperature by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry showed that Pt50Sn40Mg10/C gives a greater current density in comparison to that of Pt50Sn30Mg20/C, Pt50Sn25Mg25/C, Pt50Sn50/C, and Pt50Mg50/C. The power density obtained using Pt50Sn40Mg10/C (39.2 mW cm−2) as an anode catalyst in membraneless ethanol fuel cell was higher than that using Pt50Sn30Mg20/C, Pt50sn25Mg25/C, Pt50Sn50/C, and Pt50Mg50/C at the room temperature. CO poisoning can be reduced as a result of enhanced cell performance by the addition of Mg on the anode electrocatalysts. In this study, the carbon-supported binary Pt–Sn, Pt–Mg, and ternary Pt–Sn–Mg anode catalysts were successfully tested in a single membraneless fuel cell  using 1.0 M ethanol and 0.5 M H2SO4 as the fuel  and 0.1 M sodium perborate  in sea water as the oxidant.

​​​​Keywords: Membraneless fuel cell; Electrocatalysts; Cyclic voltammetry; Chronoamperometry. 


  1. Ren X, Zelenay P, Thomas S, Davey J, Gotttesfeld S. Recent advances in direct methanol fuel cells at los Alamos national laboratory. J Power Sources, 2000;86:111-116.
  2. Choi WC, Woo SI. Bimetallic Pt-Ru nanowire network for anode material in a direct-methanol fuel cell. J Power Sources. 2003;124:420-425.
  3. Yamaguchi T, Kuroki H, Miyata F. DMFC performances using a pore-filling polymer electrolyte membrane for portable usages. Electrochem Commun. 2005;7:730-734.
  4. Xu J, Hua K, Sun G, Wang C, Lv X, Wang Y. Electrooxidation of methanol on carbon            nanotubes supported Pt-Fe alloy electrode. Electrochem Commun. 2006;8:982-986.
  5. Luo J, Njoki PN, Lin Y, Mott D, Wang L, Zhong C. Characterization of carbon-supported AuPt Nanoparticles for electrocatalytic methanol oxidation reaction. Langmuir. 2006;22:2892-2898.
  6. Shobha T, Aravinda CL, Bera P, Devi LG, Mayanna SM. Characterization of Ni-Pd alloy as anode for methanol oxidative fuel cell.  Mater Chem Phys. 2003;80:656-661.
  7. Gasteiger HA, Markovic N, Ross PN. Cairns EJ, Methanol electrooxidation on well-characterized Pt-Ru alloys. J Phys Chem. 1993;97:12020-12029.
  8. Markovic NM, Gasteiger HA, Ross PN, Jiang XD, Villegas I, Weaver MJ, Electro-oxidation mechanisms of methanol and formic acid on Pt-Ru alloy surfaces.    Electrochimica Acta. 1995;40:91-98.
  9. Yajima T, Uchida H, Watanabe M. In-Situ ATR-FTIR spectroscopy study of electro-oxidation of methanol and adsorbed CO at Pt-Ru alloy. J Phys Chem B. 2004;108: 2654–2659.
  10. Sivakumar P, Tricoli V, Pt-Ru-Ir nanoparticles prepared by vapour deposition as a very efficient anode catalyst for methanol fuel cells. Electrochem Solid State Lett. 2006;9:A167.
  11. Neto AO, Dias RR, Tusi MM, Linardi M, Spinace EV, Electro-oxidation of methanol and ethanol using PtRu/C, PtSn/C and PtSnRu/C electrocatalysts prepared by an alcohol-reduction process. J Power Sources. 2007;166:87-91.
  12. Wang ZB, Zuo PJ, Yin GP, Effect of W on activity of Pt-Ru/C catalyst for methanol electrooxidation in acidic medium. J Alloys Compd. 2009;479:395-400.
  13. Kang DK, Noh CS, Park ST, Sohn JM, Kim SK, Park YK. The effect of PtRuW ternary electrocatlysts on methanol oxidation reaction in direct methanol fuel cells. Korean J Chem Eng. 2010;27:802-806.
  14. Chen W, Wei X, Zhang Y. A comparative study of tungsten-modified PtRu electrocatalysts for methanol oxidation . Int J Hydrogen Energy. 2014;39:6995-7003.
  15. Philippe S, José LF. Carbon materials for catalysis.  2008, Wiley.
  16. Radmilovic V, Gasteiger HA, Ross PN. Structure and chemical composition of a supported Pt-Ru electrocatalyst for methanol oxidation. J Catal. 1995;154:98-106.
  17. Beyhan S, Leger JM, Kadirgan F.  Pronouned synergetic effect of the nano-sized PtSnNi/C catalyst for ethanol oxidation in direct ethanol fuel cell. Appl Catal B Environ. 2013;130-131:305-313.
  18. Priya M, Elumalai M, Arun A, Kiruthika S, Muthukumaran B. A development of ethanol/percarbonate membraneless fuel cells. Advances in Physical Chemistry. 2014;Article ID 862691:8.
  19. Choi JH, Park KW, Park IS, Nam WH, Sung YE. Studies on the anode catalysts of carbon nanotube for DMFC. Electrochimica Acta. 2004;50:791-794.
  20. Zhou Z, Wang S, Zhou W, Wang G, Jiang L, Li W. Novel synthesis of highly active Pt/C cathode electrocatalyst for direct methanol fuel cell. Chem Commun. 2003;394-395.
  21. Bonesi AR, Moreno MS, Triaca WE, Luna AMC. Modified catalytic materials for ethanol oxidation. Int J Hydrogen Energy. 2010;35:5999-6004.
  22. Vigier F, Coutanceau C, Hahn F, Belgsir EM, Lamy C. On the mechanism of ethanol electro-oxidation on Pt and PtSn catalysts: electrochemical and in situ IR reflectance spectroscopy studies. J Electroanal Chem. 2004;563:81-89.
  23. Priya M, Elumalai M, Kiruthika S, Muthukumaran B.  Influences of supporting materials for Pt-Ru binary catalyst in ethanol fuel cell. Int J Mod Sci Technol. 2016;1(1):5-11.