Phd abstract Xiaoyu Yue

Titanium Dioxide-Based Nanocomposites as Highly Efficient Electrocatalysts for Methanol Oxidation Reaction

PhD Student: Xiaoyu Yue, Supervisors: Wei Gao and Filicia Wicaksana

With the fast-increasing energy demands and rapid depletion of fossil fuel resources, direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), as an alternate clean energy source, are becoming one of the most promising replacements for fossil fuels. DMFCs have several advantages including high specific energy, high energy conversion efficiency, easy to operate, easy to transport, and clean for portable applications. Platinum-based catalysts are the most widely preferred anode catalysts for methanol oxidation reaction in DMFCs. However, the sluggish anodic kinetics, high cost of noble metals and unstable carbon supporting materials have hindered their wide applications. Therefore, exploring and developing low-cost, high-performance, and durable anode catalysts have been the major challenge for the application of DFMCs. The combination of metal particles, carbon materials, and TiO2 has been considered as the promising pattern to improve its conductivity.

We designed and prepared novel non-precious metal Ni/TiO2-C catalysts for methanol oxidation reaction. With improved surface area and enhanced conductivity, this catalyst displayed superior catalytic performance and stability. As a non-precious metal catalyst, this new-style catalysts significantly reduced the cost of Pt containing catalysts and open a new path for the development of a large scale methanol oxidation catalysts.