A Redox Fuel Cell That Operates with Methane as Fuel at 120°C

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Science  02 Sep 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5177, pp. 1418-1420
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5177.1418


Platinum black efficiently catalyzes the oxidation of methane by iron(III) to generate carbon dioxide and eight equivalents of iron(II) in solutions of sulfuric acid in water. The rate of oxidation increases over 4 hours to reach ∼4.83 x 10-2 moles of iron(II) per gram atom of surface platinum per second. A redox fuel cell was assembled that used this reaction in a liquid reformer to generate soluble reducing equivalents of iron(II) from methane, which was electrochemically oxidized to iron(III) in the cell. A vanadium(V)-(IV)—nitric acid-O2 redox system catalyzed the electrochemical reduction of O2. The open-circuit voltage of the cell was 0.48 volt, and the maximum power output of the cell was 8.1 milliwatts per cubic centimeter of graphite felt electrode.

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