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High electrocatalytic activity of non-noble Ni-Co/graphene catalyst for direct ethanol fuel cells

Abstract

The electrocatalytic oxidation of ethanol is studied on the non-noble catalysts Ni-Co/graphene and Ni/graphene supported on glass carbon electrode (GCE) in alkaline medium. The synthesized materials are characterized by X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning transmission electron microscopy. The elements of Ni-Co/graphene and Ni/graphene catalysts are characterized using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The electrocatalytic properties of Ni-Co/graphene and Ni/graphene for ethanol oxidation are investigated by cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, and Tafel plot. Compared with Ni/graphene catalyst, Ni-Co/graphene has the higher electroactivity and better stability for ethanol oxidation. The rate constant (k s) and charge-transfer coefficient (α) are calculated for the electron exchange reaction of the modified GCE. The results indicate that Co addition could promote the oxidation reaction at the Ni/graphene catalyst. Our study demonstrates that the low-cost electrocatalyst Ni-Co/graphene has a great potential for real direct ethanol fuel cells’ application.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (no. 20775030).

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Correspondence to Chunming Wang.

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Wang, Z., Du, Y., Zhang, F. et al. High electrocatalytic activity of non-noble Ni-Co/graphene catalyst for direct ethanol fuel cells. J Solid State Electrochem 17, 99–107 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10008-012-1855-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10008-012-1855-8

Keywords

  • Non-noble catalyst
  • Nickel–cobalt/graphene
  • Direct ethanol fuel cells
  • Alkaline medium