Nanostructured Carbon Materials as Supports in the Preparation of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts


Different advanced nanostructured carbon materials, such as carbon nanocoils, carbon nanofibers, graphitized ordered mesoporous carbons and carbon xerogels, presenting interesting features such as high electrical conductivity and extensively developed porous structure were synthesized and used as supports in the preparation of electrocatalysts for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The main advantage of these supports is that their physical properties and surface chemistry can be tailored to adapt the carbonaceous material to the catalytic requirements. Moreover, all of them present a highly mesoporous structure, diminishing diffusion problems, and both graphitic character and surface area can be conveniently modified. In the present work, the influence of the particular features of each material on the catalytic activity and stability was analyzed. Results have been compared with those obtained for commercial catalysts supported on Vulcan XC-72R, Pt/C and PtRu/C (ETEK). Both a highly ordered graphitic and mesopore-enriched structure of these advanced nanostructured materials resulted in an improved electrochemical performance in comparison to the commercial catalysts assayed, both towards CO and alcohol oxidation. OPEN ACCESS Catalysts 2013, 3 672


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