Ultrasonic synthesis of borophene as a 2D electrode material with high electrocatalytic activity for use in fuel cell applications

Ultrasonic synthesis of borophene as a 2D electrode material with high electrocatalytic activity for use in fuel cell applications


Green energy systems must be able to provide a significant proportion of the energy needed to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy. Fuel cells are a promising solution to bridge the gap in the green energy transition. This study aims to enhance the energy efficiency of fuel cells by utilizing 2D supported nanocatalysts in the anode compartment. Borophene was synthesized using the liquid phase exfoliation method to be used as a support structure due to its superior properties. To use borophene as a supporting material in methanol fuel cells, a borophene-palladium hybrid structure (Pd@Borophene) was prepared using the chemical reduction method. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images showed that the obtained particle had a partially formed layered structure. The electrocatalytic activity of the Pd@Borophene was investigated through anodic reactions in Direct Methanol Alcohol Fuel Cells (DMFC). Electrochemical analyses were conducted to compare the effect of borophene on Pd and Pd@borophene nanocatalysts on the anodic reaction. The anodic peak current value of methanol oxidation for Pd@borophene was found to be 24.3 mA/cm2, which is approximately four times higher than that of unsupported Pd nanoparticles. Additionally, the ratio of forward current (If) to reverse current (Ib), which serves as an indicator of catalyst poisoning, was determined to be 2.27. This study contributes significant findings to the literature by demonstrating that borophene, an advanced 2D material, can be synthesized using a low-cost liquid phase exfoliation method and can be utilized in fuel cell applications for energy generation.

Summary for Non-Scientists

The study focuses on green energy systems, particularly fuel cells, which are seen as a key component in transitioning to environmentally friendly energy sources. Fuel cells need to be efficient to meet the growing energy demands, and this research looks at improving that efficiency. The researchers used a material called borophene—a two-dimensional material like graphene but made from boron. They created borophene using a method called liquid phase exfoliation, noted for its cost-effectiveness. Borophene is known for its excellent properties, making it a good candidate for supporting other materials. In fuel cells, the anode compartment is where the fuel is oxidized to produce electricity. The study aimed to boost the performance of this compartment by using nanocatalysts—tiny catalyst particles that help speed up the chemical reactions. Specifically, they made a hybrid structure by combining borophene with palladium (a precious metal), referred to as Pd@Borophene. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images revealed that the Pd@Borophene had a layered structure, which is desirable for its function. When tested in Direct Methanol Alcohol Fuel Cells (DMFC), the Pd@Borophene showed a significant increase in electrocatalytic activity—the ability to facilitate the reaction that converts methanol into electricity. The current produced during this reaction was four times higher than that produced by palladium nanoparticles alone. Additionally, the study measured the ratio of the forward current (the current when the reaction is proceeding as desired) to the reverse current (the current that indicates unwanted reactions or “poisoning” of the catalyst). A ratio of 2.27 suggests that the Pd@Borophene is less prone to poisoning, meaning it remains effective for longer periods. In summary, the research demonstrates that borophene can be made affordably and used to significantly enhance the energy efficiency of fuel cells, promising development for generating green energy.

Source :
Carbon Trends
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