The Effects of Temperature and Working Electrode Material on the Power Output of a Hydroxymethylfurfural Fuel Cell Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/c534fq91m

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  • The need for clean energy continues to rise as the earth’s non-renewable resources continue to be depleted to satisfy energy demands. One plausible renewable energy source exists in biomass-powered fuel cells.¹ While there are several ways to convert sugars to energy, one interesting approach is to convert the sugars to hydroxymethylfurfural. The HMF can then be used in electrochemical devices that are not Carnot limited, and therefore can obtain much higher efficiencies than that of a combustion engine. For this reason the system proposed and examined is an HMF fuel cell. The experiments performed for this honors thesis were designed to determine the effects of cell temperature and electrode material on the power output of a hydroxymethylfurfural fuel cell. A solution consisting of 0.503 and 0.042 M sodium tetrafluoroborate and HMF respectively, was synthesized as the electrolyte for a three electrode, electrochemical cell. An electrochemical cell equipped with an external heating jacket was selected for temperature control. Platinum and graphite working electrodes were tested at 60 °C and a scan rate of 150 mV/s to obtain current density versus potential which can be converted into power density versus potential. A platinum counter electrode of large surface area (2.70 cm²) in comparison to the working electrode was incorporated. Ag/AgCl was selected as the reference electrode. Power versus potential plots for the platinum electrode were obtained at temperatures of 27, 40, 50 and 60 °C and a scan rate of 150 mV/s. The platinum electrode exhibited an ability to catalyze reactions on the cyclic voltammogram while the graphite electrode did not. The high temperature experiments increased current and power output. Platinum is a much better working electrode material than graphite and high temperature conditions are the best for maximizing power output.
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