Campus Units

Chemical and Biological Engineering, Ames Laboratory

Document Type


Research Focus Area

Advanced and Nanostructured Materials, Renewable Energy

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Applied Catalysis B: Environmental



First Page


Last Page





Electro-oxidation of alcohol is the key reaction occurring at the anode of a direct alcohol fuel cell (DAFC), in which both reaction kinetics (rate) and selectivity (to deep oxidation products) need improvement to obtain higher power density and fuel utilization for a more efficient DAFC. We recently found that a PdAg bimetallic nanoparticle catalyst is more efficient than Pd for alcohol oxidation: Pd can facilitate deprotonation of alcohol in a base electrolyte, while Ag can promote intermediate aldehyde oxidation and cleavage of CC bond of C3 species to C2 species. Therefore, a combination of the two active sites (Pd and Ag) with two different functions, can simultaneously improve the reaction rates and deeper oxidation products of alcohols (Applied Catalysis B, 2016, 199, 494). In this continuing work, Pd, Ag mono, and bimetallic nanoparticles supported on carbon nanotubes (Ag/CNT, Pd/CNT, Pd1Ag1/CNT, and Pd1Ag3/CNT) were prepared using an aqueous-phase reduction method; they served as working catalysts for studying electrocatalytic oxidation of glycerol in an anion-exchange membrane-based direct glycerol fuel cell. Combined XRD, TEM, and HAADF-STEM analyses performed to fully characterize as-prepared catalysts suggested that they have small particle sizes: 2.0 nm for Pd/CNT, 2.3 nm for PdAg/CNT, 2.4 nm for PdAg3/CNT, and 13.9 nm for Ag/CNT. XPS further shows that alloying with Ag results in more metal state Pd presented on the surface, and this may be related to their higher direct glycerol fuel cell (DGFC) performances. Single DGFC performance and product analysis results show that PdAg bimetallic nanoparticles can not only improve the glycerol reaction rate so that higher power output can be achieved, but also facilitate deep oxidation of glycerol so that a higher faradaic efficiency and fuel utilization can be achieved along with optimal reaction conditions (increased base-to-fuel ratio). Half-cell electrocatalytic activity measurement and single fuel cell product analysis of different glycerol oxidation intermediates, including C3: glycerate, tartronate, mesoxalate, and lactate; C2: glycolate and oxalate, over PdAg/CNT catalyst was further conducted and produced deeper insight into the synergistic effects and reaction pathways of bimetallic PdAg catalysts in glycerol electrocatalytic oxidation.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Benipal, Neeva, Ji Qi, Qi Liu, and Wenzhen Li. "Carbon nanotube supported PdAg nanoparticles for electrocatalytic oxidation of glycerol in anion exchange membrane fuel cells." Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 210 (2017): 121-130. DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2017.02.082. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier B.V.



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Published Version