Shine a light: A PtNiRu/TiO(2) anode catalyst for direct ethanol fuel cells shows photocatalytic activity. The peak current density for ethanol oxidation under solar light illumination is 2-3 times greater than that in the absence of solar light. Ethanol is oxidized by light-generated holes, and the electrons are collected by the TiO(2) support to generate the oxidation current.Novel PtNiRu/TiO(2) anode catalysts for direct ethanol fuel cells (DEFCs) were prepared from PtNiRu nanoparticles (1:1:1 atomic ratios) and a nanoporous TiO(2) film by a sol-gel and electrodeposition method. The performances of the catalysts for ethanol oxidation were investigated by cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The results indicate a remarkable enhancement of activity for ethanol oxidation under solar light illumination. Under solar light illumination, the generated oxidation peak current density is 24.6 mA cm(-2), which is about 2.5 times higher than that observed without solar light (9.9 mA cm(-2)). The high catalytic activity of the PtNiRu/TiO(2) complex catalyst for the electrooxidation of ethanol may be attributed to the modified metal/nanoporous TiO(2) film, and the enhanced electrooxidation of ethanol under solar light may be due to the photogeneration of holes in the modified nanoporous TiO(2) film.
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