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Oxidation of alcohols in acidic and alkaline environments

: Cremers, C.; Bayer, D.; Kintzel, B.; Joos, M.; Jung, F.; Krausa, M.; Tübke, J.

Fuller, T. ; Electrochemical Society -ECS-, Energy Technology Division; Electrochemical Society -ECS-, Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry Division:
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells 8. Pt.2 : Research from the Eighth Symposium devoted to Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) presented at the Pacific Rim Meeting (PRiME) on Electrochemical and Solid-State Science that was held in Honolulu in October 2008
Pennington, NJ: ECS, 2008 (ECS transactions 16,2)
ISBN: 978-1-566-77648-6
ISBN: 978-1-60768-001-7
ISSN: 1938-5862
Symposium Devoted to Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) <8, 2007, Honolulu/Hawaii>
Pacific Rim Meeting on Electrochemical and Solid-State Science (PRiME) <2007, Honolulu/Hawaii>
Electrochemical Society (Meeting) <214, 2008, Honolulu/Hawaii>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ICT ()

The electro-oxidation reactions of methanol and ethanol were studied in sulfuric acid and potassium hydroxide solution. Different electrode materials were tested for this reaction including base metal electrodes in the alkaline case. Tests were performed using standard electrochemical techniques such as cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry and differential electrochemical mass spectrometry. Comparing both reactions it was found that in the acidic environment the methanol oxidation proceeds faster and is more complete than the ethanol oxidation. However, the situation changes in alkaline solution. Here, the kinetic enhancement of the ethanol oxidation reaction is in many cases so strong that the ethanol oxidation kinetics become faster than the methanol oxidation kinetics at the same metal and under the same conditions.