Corresponding Author

Yu-jiang SONG(yjsong@dlut.edu.cn)


In order to improve the hydrophilicity and electrocatalytic activity, commercial carbon black (BP 2000) was subjected to acid treatment to obtain acid-treated carbon (ATC). The generation of rich oxygen-containing groups on the surface of the ATC was proved by X-ray photoelectron spectra (XPS), Fourier transform-infra red spectra (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TG) and contact angle measurement. UV-vis spectra were firstly recorded to calculate activation energy (Ea) of ascorbic acid (AA) chemical oxidation in alkaline conditions by oxygen in air and the Ea value was determined to be 37.1 kJ·mol-1. Additionally, electrochemical impedance spectra (EIS) were used to evaluate unprecedented Eaelectrochem of ATC as electrocatalysts toward ascorbic acid (AA) oxidation in alkaline media. The Eaelectrochem values of electrochemical oxidation in alkaline membrane electrode assembly (MEA) setup of a single cell without and with ATC as the anodic electrocatalysts were calculated to be 34.5 and 26.5 kJ·mol-1, respectively. The diminished Eaelectrochem suggests that ATC does function as an effective anodic electrocatalyst. Furthermore, the ATC was applied in direct ascorbic acid alkaline membrane fuel cell (DAAFC) for the first time. We optimized a series of parameters for the fabrication of MEAs including catalyst coated membrane (CCM) or catalyst coated gas diffusion layer membrane (CDM), loading of anodic electrocatalyst, and ionomer content in the electrocatalyst slurry. It turned out that the CCM with the ATC loading of 0.5 mg·cm-2 and 25wt% ionomer reached a high power density of 18.5 mW·cm-2, which is higher than that of using PtRu/C as anodic electrocatalyst (less than 5.0 mW·cm-2). In addition, the DAAFC fed with 15 mL·min-1 of the fuel containing 0.5 mol·L-1 AA and 1 mol·L-1 NaOH aq. could stably hold a power density at 4 mW·cm-2 for 25 min.

Graphical Abstract


direct ascorbic acid alkaline membrane fuel cells, carbon, anodic electrocatalysts, activation energy, acid treatment

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