Performance enhancement of direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) by improving the catalytic activity and stability of the electrodes materials – GreenEn

PROJECT TITLE: Performance enhancement of direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) by improving the catalytic activity and stability of the electrodes materials


FOUNDING SOURCE: Exploratory Research Projects - PNCDI III - Program 4 - Fundamental and Frontier Research



PROJECT DURATION: 31 months (02/06.2022 – 31.12.2024)


PROJECT CONSORTIUM: CO - National Institute of Research and Development for Technical Physics, NIRDTP Iasi

PROJECT SUMMARY: Air pollution is currently the most important environmental risk to human health, and it is perceived as the second biggest environmental concern at national and international level. In this context, the replacement of the energy from fossil fuels with clean/green energy sources is imperative and the use of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell represents a viable solution to pollution issues, being one of the best candidates for the next-generation power source. The scope of the project proposal is to overcome two of the technical issues concerning the DMFC performance by: (i) developing a new preparation method of CoPt nanoparticles in order to increase the catalysts activity and decrease the platinum content and (ii) increasing the catalyst stability by exploiting the unique properties of CNTs. Within the framework of this project, a complex experimental study on the preparation, characterization (dimensional, morphological, structural and magnetic) and testing of new CoPt/CNTs nanocomposite materials will be accomplished, in order to choose the adequate catalysts in terms of nanoparticles diameter, morphology, structure and composition. By fulfilling the project proposal activities, we will contribute to the improvement of DMFC performances and stability and we will develop the experimental research work in the field of preparation of new catalysts based on CoPt /CNTs nanocomposite, focused on practical and immediate applications to renewable energy sources and catalyst industry.

PROJECT OBJECTIVE: The main Objective of this project is to improve the performance and efficiency of the DMFC fuel cells by optimizing the electrode properties and stabilities that will yield the highest current and power densities.

EXPECTED RESULTS: Preparation of new catalysts based on CoPt /CNTs nanocomposites with high catalytic activity for methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) and high electrochemically active surface area, and high stability under operating conditions. The as-obtained composite materials will be used as catalysts for preparation of DMFC anodes and their stability and efficiency will be tested in fuel cells operating conditions and will be compared with widely used carbon black supports.

Objective 1/2022

Preparation of CoPt /CNT’s nanocomposites and study of their composition, morphology and physical properties.

Tasks 2022

Task 1.1: Synthesis of CoPt/CNTs nanocomposites;
Task 1.2: Morphologic and structural characterization of CoPt/CNTs nanocomposites.

Results 2022

i. Conferences Comunications:

  1. Influence of the Preparation Conditions on the Catalytic Efficiency of CoPt Catalyst for MOR”, Oana-Georgiana Dragos-Pinzaru, George Stoian, Firuta Borza, Nicoleta Lupu, - 14 th International Conference on Physics of Advanced Materials (ICPAM-14), 8 – 15 September 2022, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  2. Magnetic nanoparticles based on CoFe alloy as T2 MRI contrast agents”, Oana-Georgiana Dragos-Pinzaru, Dumitru-Daniel Herea, George Stoian, Firuta Borza, Nicoleta Lupu, Ibro Tabakovic, Daniel Shore, Liliana Savin, Bethanie J.H. Stadler, IEEE International Conference on e-Health and Bioengineering, EHB 2022 - 10-th Edition, 17-19 November 2022, Hybrid Conference, Iasi, Romania.

ii. ISI Articles :

  1. O.-G. Dragos-Pinzaru, G. Buema, D. Gherca, I. Tabakovic, N. Lupu, Effect of the Preparation Conditions on the Catalytic Properties of CoPt for Highly Efficient 4-Nitrophenol Reduction, Materials 15, 6250 (2022); I.F.: 3.748,
  2. G. Buema, D.-D. Herea, O.-G. Dragos-Pinzaru, Special Issue: Ceramic and Metallic Biomaterials. Application in Medical Sciences, Coatings 12 (7), 998 (2022); IF: 3.236,
  3. O.-G. Dragos-Pinzaru, G. Buema, D.-D. Herea, H. Chiriac, N. Lupu, A.E. Minuti, G. Stoian, D. Shore, V.C. Pierre, I. Tabakovic, B.J.H. Stadler, Synthesis and Characterization of Gold-Shell Magnetic Nanowires for Theranostic Applications, Coatings 12(11), 1755 (2022); IF: 3.236,
  4. M. Tibu, N. Lupu, O.-G. Dragos-Pinzaru, Effect of the preparation conditions on the magnetic properties of the CoPt alloy nanowires, Magnetochemistry 8(12), 176 (2022), IF: 3.336,
  5. O.-G. Dragos-Pinzaru, D.-D. Herea, G. Stoian, F. Borza, N. Lupu, I. Tabakovic, D. Shore, B.J.H. Stadler, Magnetic nanoparticles based on CoFe alloy as T2 MRI contrast agents, 2022 E-Health and Bioengineering Conference (EHB), Iasi, Romania, 2022, pp. 1-4,

Objective 2/2023

Characterization of specific and electrochemical surface area, performance and stability of CoPt/CNT’s catalysts. Study of the materials degradation point and comparison with commercial Pt/carbon black catalysts.

Tasks 2023

Task 2.1: Morphologic and structural characterization of CoPt/CNTs nanocomposites– part II; Magnetical and electrical characterization of CoPt/CNTs nanocomposites;
Task 2.2: Measurements of specific surface area (SSA) and electrochemical surface area (ECSA) of the CoPt/CNTs nanocomposites.
Task 2.3: Potential cycle test to assess CoPt/CNT nanocomposite corrosion resistance

Results 2023

  1. Conferences Comunications:
  1. Electrodeposited CoPt Catalysts for Methanol Oxidation Reaction”, Oana-Georgiana Dragos-Pinzaru, Luiza Racila, George Stoian, Gabriel Ababei, Firuta Borza, Ibro Tabakovic, Nicoleta Lupu, The 24th Conference “New Cryogenic and Isotope Technologies for Energy and Environment” – EnergEn 2023, 18-20 octombrie 2023 - Băile Govora, Romania.
  2. “Catalytic activity of CoPt alloy for phenolic compounds reduction”, Gabriela Buema, Anca-Emanuela Minuti, Cristina Stavilă, Nicoleta Lupu, Ibro Tabakovic, Oana-Georgiana Dragos-Pinzaru, The 6th International Conference on Emerging Technologies In Materials Engineering – EmergeMAT, 9-10 noiembrie 2023 – Bucharest, Romania.


Project Summary 2022 (in Romanian)
Project Summary 2023 (in Romanian)

Dr. Oana – Georgiana Dragoş – Pînzaru
National Institute of Research and Development for Technical Physics, NIRDTP Iasi
47 Mangeron Boulevard, 700050, Iasi
Tel: 0232-430.680 (int. 108)
Fax: 0232-231.132