SYNTHESIS AND CHARACTERIZATION OF PT-NIO/C AS POTENTIAL ELECTROCATALYSTS FOR FUEL CELL APPLICATION
Three Platinum–Nickel Oxide supported on activated carbon (Pt-NiO/C) catalyst samples for methanol electro-oxidation reaction at the anode of a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) were prepared by precipitation, impregnation and reduction method using NaOH and NaBH4 as precipitating and reducing agents, respectively. The catalyst samples were supported on activated carbon produced from coconut shell using chemical activation method with phosphoric acid as the activating agent. The Pt-NiO loading of the synthesized Pt-NiO/C electrocatalysts was from 0 – 30 wt%. Pore size distribution and surface morphology of the activated carbon were determined using N2 adsorption Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analyzer and scanning electron microscope (SEM), respectively. XRD and BET analyses were used to characterize the Pt-NiO/C electrocatalysts. The BET results of the prepared activated carbon gave a surface area of 302.5 m2/g and a pore volume of 0.518 cm3/g. The XRD results showed successful preparation of activated carbon and appearance of the active species impregnated on it. The introduction of NiO reduced the particle size of Pt crystallites. The particle size and surface area of the produced Pt-NiO/C electrocatalysts as compared to commercial Pt-Ru/Vulcan 72R electrocatalyst was found to be 2.78 nm and 3.09 nm; and 100.85 m2/g and 90.6 m2/g, respectively. The electrical conductivity of the prepared electrocatalysts ranged from 4.68 S/cm to 5.76 S/cm. Based on the large specific surface area and good electrical conductivity values, the prepared electrocatalysts have potential to be used for the methanol electro-oxidation reaction at the anode of a DMFC.