Available Technology

BSA 99-05: Anodes to Oxidize Alcohol in Fuel Cells

Platinum is an excellent catalyst and electrocatalyst. It is also expensive and vulnerable to poisoning by carbon monoxide in the reaction environment. By supporting platinum on nickel or cobalt tungstate, the amount of platinum necessary to achieve the same catalytic activity for oxidizing alcohol in a fuel cell is reduced, as is the tendency for the platinum to lose its activity during contact with carbon monoxide. Adding about ten percent ruthenium or molybdenum oxide to the binary catalysts improved the performance even more. The higher tolerance for carbon monoxide may also be exploited in fuel cells that use gaseous fuels, such as less-pure hydrogen.
Patent Abstract: 
The anode has a binary electrocatalyst and a group VIII noble metal catalyst supported on the substrate for oxidizing alcohol in a fuel cell.
These binary and ternary catalysts use less platinum than pure platinum or platinum-ruthenium catalysts, reducing the cost due to the precious metal component. In addition, the enhanced resistance to carbon monoxide poisoning allows the catalysts to be used longer before replacement, again reducing cost.
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