398957 Acetic Acid Tolerance in Bio-Hybrid Fuel Cells

Monday, November 17, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Reed Pyers, Department of Chemistry and Life Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

Glucose has been shown to oxidize into ethanol, and bio-hybrid fuel cells take advantage of this by using ethanol with limited preparation in a direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC). Although this technique is promising, a variety of variables have been shown to influence fuel cell performance. One of these variables is acetic acid production by ethanol oxidation at the fuel cell’s cathode. Using amperommetry and linear sweep volatammetry (LSV), we were able to monitor the fuel cell’s performance with a variety of acetic acid concentrations. We concluded that although low pH can aid the performance of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) it degrades the performance of the metal catalyst and can be catastrophic to fuel cell power output.

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