Unmasking the Latent Passivating Roles of Ni(OH)2on the Performance of Pd-Ni Electrocatalysts for Alkaline Ethanol Fuel Cells

Adewale Kabir Ipadeola, Nomxolisi Zakithi Lisa Mathebula, Maria Vincenza Pagliaro, Hamish Andrew Miller, Francesco Vizza, Veronica Davies, Qingying Jia, Frank Marken, Kenneth Ikechukwu Ozoemena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


Nicked-based metal-organic framework-derived carbon (Ni/MOFDC) and its acid-treated counterpart (AT-Ni/MOFDC) have been prepared as supports for palladium nanoparticle electrocatalysts (Pd/Ni/MOFDC and Pd/AT-Ni/MOFDC). These materials have been prepared using facile microwave-assisted techniques. Several spectroscopic and microscopic techniques (such as FTIR, Raman, PXRD, XPS, XANES, FT-EXAFS, and TEM) have been used to thoroughly characterize physicochemical properties of the materials. It is revealed that acid treatment successfully cleaned the metallic Ni surface of the passivating hydroxides (Ni(OH)2 and NiOOH) to generate a very low concentration of Ni nanoparticles on the carbon support. The Ni-deficient Pd/AT-Ni/MOFDC shows excellent electrocatalytic performance toward ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR) in the alkaline medium compared to the Ni-hydroxide-rich Pd/Ni/MOFDC counterpart. As a proof-of-concept, these electrocatalysts have been employed as anodes and demonstrated for membraneless direct ethanol microfuel cells (μ-DEFCs) with a micro-3D-printed cell, with FeCo/C as electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction at the cathode. The Pd/AT-Ni/MOFDC displays increased peak power density (Pm = 26.49 mW cm-2) with 68% voltage retention after a 24 h galvanostatic discharge test at 40 mA cm-2 and reduced impedance. The improved electrocatalytic properties of the Pd/AT-Ni/MOFDC underscore the need to clean the nickel surface of its passivating hydroxides to harness its full promotional activities toward alcohol oxidation reaction on precious metal electrocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8786-8802
Number of pages17
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020


  • alkaline ethanol oxidation
  • current density
  • ethanol microfuel cell
  • Ni-deficient Pd/AT-Ni/MOFDC electrocatalyst
  • Ni-MOF-derived carbon
  • peak power density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Unmasking the Latent Passivating Roles of Ni(OH)2on the Performance of Pd-Ni Electrocatalysts for Alkaline Ethanol Fuel Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this