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Effect of Co3O4 Nanoparticles on Improving Catalytic Behavior

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Effect of Co3O4 Nanoparticles on Improving Catalytic Behavior ( effect-co3o4-nanoparticles-improving-catalytic-behavior )

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􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 Abstract: Direct urea fuel cells (DUFCs) have recently drawn increased attention as sustainable power generation devices because of their considerable advantages. Nonetheless, the kinetics of the oxidation-reduction reaction, particularly the electrochemical oxidation and oxygen reduc- tion reaction (ORR), in direct urea fuel cells are slow and hence considered to be inefficient. To overcome these disadvantages in DUFCs, Pd nanoparticles loaded onto Co3O4 supported by multi- walled carbon nanotubes (Pd/Co3O4@MWCNT) were employed as a promising cathode catalyst for enhancing the electrocatalytic activity and oxygen reduction reaction at the cathode in DUFCs. Co3O4@MWCNT and Pd/Co3O4@MWCNT were synthesized via a facile two-step hydrothermal process. A Pd/MWCNT catalyst was also prepared and evaluated to study the effect of Co3O4 on the performance of the Pd/Co3O4@MWCNT catalyst. A current density of 13.963 mA cm−2 and a maximum power density of 2.792 mW cm−2 at 20 ◦C were obtained. Pd/Co3O4@MWCNT is a prospectively effective cathode catalyst for DUFCs. The dilution of Pd with non-precious metal oxides in adequate amounts is economically conducive to highly practical catalysts with promising electrocatalytic activity in fuel cell applications. Keywords: Pd nanoparticles; noble metals; oxygen reduction reaction; transitional metal oxide; non-Pt catalysts; cathodic urea fuel cell catalysts 1. Introduction Recently, there has been a significant surge in attention paid to energy resources, especially renewable energy. The need to find a source of clean sustainable energy in the near future is becoming imperative. One of the best candidates is fuel cells, which do not produce any pollutants as byproducts [1,2]. Urea or urine, as a hydrogen carrier, can be used for global electricity generation, because these substances are abundant with high energy density (16.9 MJ L−1 in the liquid state) and are non-flammable, non-toxic, and biodegradable. In particular, urea and urine fuels are popularly used as low-cost resources, which are prominent for large-scale use in renewable energy. Moreover, they are safe for storage and transportation in the long run [3]. Over the past decade, the direct urea fuel cell (DUFC), as a sustainable power generation device, has been extensively studied because of these undeniable strengths. Nonetheless, the kinetics of the oxidation-reduction reactions, particularly electrochemical oxidation and oxygen reduction reactions, in direct urea fuel cells are sluggish; hence, improving the efficiency and performance of these reactions by utilizing highly active noble metals such as platinum has been considered [4,5]. In the DUFC, the electro-oxidation of urea occurs at the anode side, and the electro- reduction reaction of oxygen occurs at the cathode side. The operating process for the DUFC in an alkaline membrane electrolyte is represented by the following reactions [3]: nanomaterials Article Effect of Co3O4 Nanoparticles on Improving Catalytic Behavior of Pd/Co3O4@MWCNT Composites for Cathodes in Direct Urea Fuel Cells Nguyen-Huu-Hung Tuyen 1, Hyun-Gil Kim 2,* and Young-Soo Yoon 1,* Citation: Tuyen,N.-H.-H.;Kim, H.-G.; Yoon, Y.-S. Effect of Co3O4 Nanoparticles on Improving Catalytic Behavior of Pd/Co3O4@MWCNT Composites for Cathodes in Direct Urea Fuel Cells. Nanomaterials 2021, 11,1017. https://doi.org/10.3390/ nano11041017 Academic Editor: Marius Dobromir Received: 11 March 2021 Accepted: 13 April 2021 Published: 16 April 2021 Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affil- iations. Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). 1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Gachon University, Seongnam 13120, Korea; nguyenhhtuyen@gmail.com ATF Technology Development Division, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon 34057, Korea 2 * Correspondence: hgkim@kaeri.re.kr (H.-G.K.); benedicto@gachon.ac.kr (Y.-S.Y.) Cathode reaction: O2 + 2H2O + 4e− → 4OH− E0 = +0.40 V Nanomaterials 2021, 11, 1017. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11041017 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/nanomaterials

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