Tailor‑designed nanoparticle‑based PdNiSn catalyst as a potential anode for glycerol fuel cells

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In order to effectively use glycerol as a fuel in direct glycerol fuel cells, a catalyst that can break the C–C bond and enhance the electro-oxidation of glycerol to CO2 is necessary. In this particular investigation, a palladium-nickel-tin nanocomposite electrodeposited on a glassy carbon electrode (PdNiSn/GC) exhibited excellent activity towards the electro-oxidation of glycerol, thanks to the synergistic effect of the catalyst composition. The PdNiSn/GC surface generated a peak current (Ip) that was 2.5 times higher than that obtained at a Pd/GC electrode, with a cathodic shift in the onset potential (Eonset) of approximately 300 mV. Additionally, the current obtained at the PdNiSn/GC surface remained stable during continuous electrolysis. Capacitance measurements were used to interpret the results of the electrocatalytic activity, and high-performance liquid chromatography indicated that the products of the glycerol electro-oxidation reaction were oxalic acid and formic acid, which were subsequently oxidized to CO2, as revealed by the charge calculations. The results depict that the synergy between Pd, β-Ni(OH)2, and SnO2 is crucial for boosting GEOR through enhancing the C–C bond cleavage and completely oxidize the reaction intermediates to CO2.