Synthesis of binary and ternary Pd-based Nanocatalysts for alcohol oxidation in alkaline media for fuel cell application
This study explores the use of UV-assisted reduction method to synthesise the catalysts, aiming at reducing synthesis time. The Pd and Au catalyst loading is kept at 5 wt% in order to reduce the cost associated with high loading (20 wt%) of platinum group metals. The synthesised catalysts have SnO2 incorporated in them for two purposes, one being to activate the chemical reaction by absorbing UV-light and the second one is to serve as a promoter for binary and ternary catalysts. All the synthesised electrocatalysts in this study were denoted as Au/10wt%SnO2-C, Au/15wt%SnO2-C, Au/20wt%SnO2-C, Au/40wt%SnO2-C, Au/60wt%SnO2-C, Pd/10wt%SnO2-C, Pd/15wt%SnO2-C, Pd/20wt%SnO2-C, Pd/40wt%SnO2-C, Pd/60wt%SnO2-C and PdAu/10wt%SnO2-C respectively. The UV-assisted reduction method was proved to be effective with the obtained results from TEM, SEM, XRD and electrochemical studies. TEM micrographs revealed nanoparticles of Pd, Au and SnO2 which were proved by the measured d-spacing values corresponding to the element’s structures. The measured average particle size ranged from 3.05 to 14.97 nm for the electrocatalysts. The XRD profiles confirmed the face centred cubic of Pd, Au and tetragonal structures of SnO2. These electrocatalysts showed varied activity towards the oxidation of alcohols namely, methanol, ethanol, ethylene glycol and glycerol in alkaline electrolyte The cyclic voltammetry results showed improved performance towards the oxidation of glycerol on Au-based electrocatalysts, highest current density of 22.08 mA cm-2 than on Pd-based electrocatalysts. Pd-based electrocatalysts were more active towards the oxidation of ethanol than Au-based electrocatalysts with the highest current density of 19.96 mA cm-2. The co-reduced PdAu on 10wt%SnO2-C electrocatalysts showed the lowest current density of 6.88 mA cm-2 for ethanol oxidation when compared to Pd/10wt%SnO2-C and Au/10wt%SnO2-C. Linear sweep voltammograms showed more negative onset potentials on Pd-based electrocatalysts than Au-based electrocatalysts. The more negative onset potential obtained on Pd-based electrocatalysts was observed for ethanol oxidation. These results correspond to the trend observed in literature for ethanol oxidation being more favoured on Pd-based electrocatalysts whereas the polyalcohol oxidation is more favoured on Au-based electrocatalysts. The best performing and most stable electrocatalyst among the Au-based electrocatalysts is Au/10wt%SnO2-C and Pd/10wt%SnO2-C for the Pd-based electrocatalysts.