Powering Fuel Cells with CO via Aqueous Polyoxometalates and Gold Catalysts

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Science  27 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5688, pp. 1280-1283
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100860

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Electricity was produced by catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide (CO) by using gold catalysts at room temperature. The observed rates are faster than conventional processes operating at 500 kelvin or higher for the conversion of CO with water to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide through the water-gas shift (WGS). By eliminating the WGS reaction, we remove the need to transport and vaporize liquid water in the production of energy for portable applications. This process can use CO-containing gas streams from the catalytic reforming of hydrocarbons to produce an aqueous solution of reduced polyoxometalate compounds that can be used to generate power. The reduced polyoxometalate can be reoxidized in fuel cells that contain simple carbon anodes.

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