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Bimetallic Nickel/Ruthenium Catalysts Synthesized by Atomic Layer Deposition for Low-Temperature Direct Methanol Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 14.10.2016, 00:00 by Heonjae Jeong, Jun Woo Kim, Joonsuk Park, Jihwan An, Tonghun Lee, Fritz B. Prinz, Joon Hyung Shim
Nickel and ruthenium bimetallic catalysts were heterogeneously synthesized via atomic layer deposition (ALD) for use as the anode of direct methanol solid oxide fuel cells (DMSOFCs) operating in a low-temperature range. The presence of highly dispersed ALD Ru islands over a porous Ni mesh was confirmed, and the Ni/ALD Ru anode microstructure was observed. Fuel cell tests were conducted using Ni-only and Ni/ALD Ru anodes with approximately 350 μm thick gadolinium-doped ceria electrolytes and platinum cathodes. The performance of fuel cells was assessed using pure methanol at operating temperatures of 300–400 °C. Micromorphological changes of the anode after cell operation were investigated, and the content of adsorbed carbon on the anode side of the operated samples was measured. The difference in the maximum power density between samples utilizing Ni/ALD Ru and Pt/ALD Ru, the latter being the best catalyst for direct methanol fuel cells, was observed to be less than 7% at 300 °C and 30% at 350 °C. The improved electrochemical activity of the Ni/ALD Ru anode compared to that of the Ni-only anode, along with the reduction of the number of catalytically active sites due to agglomeration of Ni and carbon formation on the Ni surface as compared to Pt, explains this decent performance.