Highly active PtxPdy/SnO2/C catalyst for dimethyl ether oxidation in fuel cells

Diwakar Kashyap, Hanan Teller, Alex Schechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Dimethyl ether (DME) is a nontoxic gas that is considered a potential fuel for direct-feed proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). DME has several advantages over other fuels, including high energy density, pumpless fuel delivery, liquefied storage, low toxicity and minimal crossover through Nafion® membranes in PEMFC. However, the low activity of the state-of-the-art catalyst (Pt50Ru50) for DME oxidation is the main hurdle in the development of efficient fuel cell devices. In this work, fine layers of SnO2 on high surface-area carbon (PtxPdy/SnO2/C) catalysts were synthesized by ethylene glycol-assisted reduction and characterized by X-ray diffraction, TEM, EDX, XPS, and ICP-OES. The electro-oxidation of DME was systematically studied in a conventional three-electrode cell and a laboratory prototype direct DME fuel cell (DDMEFC) operating at 70 °C. Compared to other catalysts reported for DME oxidation, the Pt0.75Pd0.25/SnO2/C shows higher specific power density in both the conventional three-electrode cell and the fuel cell configurations. The peak power density delivered by direct gas feed DDMEFCs is 110 mW cm-2 at 0.4 V with only 1.2 mg cm−2 of platinum group metal (PGM) loading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • Dimethyl ether
  • Electro oxidation
  • Fuel cell
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Tin oxide support


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