Standard Article

Methanol and formic acid oxidation on ad-metal modified electrodes


Oxidation of small organic molecules

  1. P. Waszczuk,
  2. A. Crown,
  3. S. Mitrovski,
  4. A. Wieckowski

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f206049

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Waszczuk, P., Crown, A., Mitrovski, S. and Wieckowski, A. 2010. Methanol and formic acid oxidation on ad-metal modified electrodes. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This chapter describes modification of platinum and some other noble metal electrodes for enhanced catalytic oxidation of methanol and formic acid. The modification was carried out by electrochemical addition of submonolayer-to-monolayer quantities of noble metals to noble metal substrates, with the primary focus on the use of spontaneous deposition. In contrast to underpotential deposition (UPD), the term noble metal deposition on noble metal substrates (NM/NM) is introduced to cover high reactivity model and real electrodes for fuel cells. We begin with providing a brief description of the basic mechanistic pathways for methanol and formic acid oxidative decomposition on platinum. Subsequently, we review the modified electrodes utilized for the study of methanol oxidation, such as platinum/ruthenium, platinum/osmium (and ruthenium/platinum for enhanced CO tolerance), and palladium/platinum and gold/palladium electrodes for formic acid oxidation. The Pt/Ru electrodes are reviewed most comprehensively as the Pt/Ru mixed-metal materials are used as an anode in the direct oxidation methanol fuel cell. Despite progress recently made in the specific catalytic categories interrogated in this chapter, research is still needed to establish a solid and comprehensive base for preparation of new catalytic materials via the rational rather than trial and error principle; the latter has exhausted its utility many years ago.


  • methanol oxidation;
  • DMFC;
  • PEM;
  • NM/NM;
  • formic acid;
  • platinum;
  • gold;
  • ruthenium;
  • palladium;
  • osmium