Electrocatalyst Performances in Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells: Defect Engineering Protocols, Electrocatalytic Pathways, Key Parameters for Improvement, and Breakthroughs on the Horizon

Thabo Matthews, Siyabonga Patrick Mbokazi, Tarekegn Heliso Dolla, Sandile Surprise Gwebu, Kudzai Mugadza, Katlego Raseruthe, Ludwe Luther Sikeyi, Kayode Adesina Adegoke, Oluwaseyi Damilare Saliu, Abolanle Saheed Adekunle, Patrick Ndungu, Nobanathi Wendy Maxakato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In direct alcohol fuel cells (DAFCs), energy conversion co-occurs at the anode (alcohol oxidation reaction [AOR]) and cathode (oxygen reduction reaction [ORR]). The sluggishness of AOR and ORR needs highly electrocatalytically active and stable electrocatalysts that boost electrokinetics, which is central in electrocatalysts’ architectural design and modulation. This design entails enhanced engineering synthesis protocols, heteroatomic doping, metallic doping/alloying, and deliberate introduction of defective motifs within the electrocatalyst matrix. The electrocatalyst activity and behavior depend on the electrocatalysts’ nature, type, composition, and reaction media, acidic or alkaline. Alkaline media permits cheap nonplatinum group metals. This review elucidates the roles and electrocatalytic pathways on different AOR and ORR electrocatalysts and outlines the aspects distinguishing ORR in alkaline and acidic media. It gives up-to-date and ultramodern strategies, protocols, and underlying mechanisms pointing to the efficacy and efficiency of electrocatalysts. The focus centers on heteroatomic, metallic dopants, defects effects correlated to electrocatalytic properties and experimental and theoretical findings. For the advancement in the field, the present study discusses critical parameters for improving the performances of electrocatalysts for DAFCs and breakthroughs on the horizon. Conclusively, knowledge gaps and prospects of these materials for industrial viability and reigning futuristic research directions are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300057
JournalSmall Science
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • defects
  • electrocatalysts
  • electrocatalytic oxidation
  • electrocatalytic pathways
  • electrocatalytic performances
  • electrocatalytic reduction
  • fuel cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)

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