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In situ fuel phosphorylation facilitates the complete oxidation of glycerol in direct biomass cells

Yang, Chun, Cao, Wei-Qin, Ji, Xiao-Feng, Wang, Jian, Zhong, Tao-Lin, Wang, Yu, Zhang, Qing
Renewable energy 2020 v.146 pp. 699-704
biomass, electric potential difference, electrolytes, esterification, fuel cells, fuels, glycerol, oxidation, phosphoric acid, phosphorylation, refeeding, renewable energy sources, sodium hydroxide, sodium sulfate, temperature
It is about a method to build direct biomass cells enabling complete fuel oxidation. Heated at a temperature from 40 °C to 90 °C, the fuel (glycerol) will be esterified in a solution of phosphoric acid to form monophosphate. A fuel cell fed with thus partly phosphorylated glycerol come with open circuit voltages varying from 0.65 to 0.83 V. The current densities are close to the values of a fuel cell run in a solution of NaOH, but 10 times higher than that of a cell with a neutral electrolyte (e.g. Na2SO4). Under optimized conditions, peak values of current density and power density are obtained at about 20 mA cm−2 and 2.2 mW cm−2 respectively. Thereafter a series of oxidized C1–C3 intermediates are detected in the discharged solutions. More importantly several cycles of fuel refeeding do not lead to any accumulation of glycerol or the discharging intermediates. This means in situ phosphorylation can successfully activate the fuel and facilitate its’ complete oxidation. Though discharging performance needs to be further improved, this partly phosphorylation method can be simple and effective to increase fuel utilization percentages in direct saccharide cells.