Standard Article

Product analysis


Methods in electrocatalysis

  1. R. M. Torresi1,
  2. S. Wasmus2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f203018

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Torresi, R. M. and Wasmus, S. 2010. Product analysis. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos, Brazil

  2. 2

    Königswinter, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Considering interfacial reactions, during the last three decades, surface scientists and electrochemists have made an important effort to develop instrumental techniques in order to study not only the structure and composition of solid interfaces but also to identify product reactions. The need for measuring interfacial events at solid surfaces under ambient conditions has induced the developing of direct in situ methods. In the case of electrochemical processes, which involve mass changes, one of the new techniques introduced in the last two decades is the electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQMB). Results related to anion adsorption and oxidation of small organic molecules are discussed. Other technique which has become a powerful method in electrochemistry is the electrochemical mass spectroscopy, now also directly applicable to fuel cell studies. The technology necessary to design the instrumentation for these investigations is described in depth. Results related to anode oxidation processes are discussed. Initial concerns that the methanol oxidation in a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) may not be complete have been shown to be unsubstantiated. Using a Pt/Ru anode and a sufficient excess of water, a yield of CO2 near 100% is achieved. In contrast, the use of ethanol as a fuel leads to a predominant aldehyde formation under all conditions. The mechanisms of the processes involved are analyzed in the light of these results. Cathode studies showed that the methanol crossover effect in a DMFC is likely a dual mechanism consisting of a non-electrochemical reaction with additional cathode poisoning. Product identification of oxidation of small organic molecules by using liquid micro-chromatography or fluorimetry it is also discussed.


  • reaction mechanisms in electrochemistry;
  • fuel cells;
  • direct methanol fuel cells;
  • product analysis;
  • product distribution;
  • oxidation in direct oxidation fuel cells;
  • methanol;
  • ethanol;
  • 1-propanol;
  • 2-propanol;
  • formic acid;
  • methanol crossover;
  • effects on cathode performance;
  • mechanisms;
  • avoidance strategies