A robust one-compartment fuel cell with a polynuclear cyanide complex as a cathode for utilizing H2O2 as a sustainable fuel at ambient conditions

Yusuke Yamada, Masaki Yoneda, Shunichi Fukuzumi

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Abstract

A robust one-compartment H2O2 fuel cell, which operates without membranes at room temperature, has been constructed by using a series of polynuclear cyanide complexes that contain Fe, Co, Mn, and Cr as cathodes, in sharp contrast to conventional H2 and MeOH fuel cells, which require membranes and high temperatures. A high open-circuit potential of 0.68 V was achieved by using Fe3[{CoIII(CN) 6}2] on a carbon cloth as the cathode and a Ni mesh as the anode of a H2O2 fuel cell by using an aqueous solution of H2O2 (0.30 M, pH 3) with a maximum power density of 0.45 mW cm-2. The open-circuit potential and maximum power density of the H2O2 fuel cell were further increased to 0.78 V and 1.2 mW cm-2, respectively, by operation under these conditions at pH 1. No catalytic activity of Co3[{CoIII(CN)6} 2] and Co3[{FeIII(CN)6}2] towards H2O2 reduction suggests that the N-bound Fe ions are active species for H2O2 reduction. H2O 2 fuel cells that used Fe3[{MnIII(CN) 6}2] and Fe3[{CrIII(CN) 6}2] as the cathode exhibited lower performance compared with that using Fe3[{CoIII(CN)6}2] as a cathode, because ligand isomerization of Fe3[{M III(CN)6}2] into (FeM2)[{Fe II(CN)6}2] (M=Cr or Mn) occurred to form inactive FeC bonds under ambient conditions, whereas no ligand isomerization of Fe3[{CoIII(CN)6} 2] occurred under the same reaction conditions. The importance of stable Fe2+N bonds was further indicated by the high performance of the H2O2 fuel cells with Fe 3[{IrIII(CN)6}2] and Fe 3[{RhIII(CN)6}2], which also contained stable Fe2+N bonds. The stable Fe 2+N bonds in Fe3[{Co III(CN)6}2], which lead to high activity for the electrocatalytic reduction of H2O2, allow Fe 3[{CoIII(CN)6}2] to act as a superior cathode in one-compartment H2O2 fuel cells. Fuel for the fire: A robust one-compartment H2O2 fuel cell has been constructed by using a series of polynuclear cyanide complexes as a cathode (see figure). A high open-circuit potential of 0.78 V and a maximum power density of 1.2 mW cm-2 were achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11733-11741
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Volume19
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • cathodes
  • cyanide complexes
  • fuel cells
  • heteropolynuclear complexes
  • hydrogen peroxide

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