Effects of hydrophobicity of diffusion layer on the electroreduction of biomass derivatives in polymer electrolyte membrane reactors

Wei Chen, Gaohong He, Feilong Ge, Wu Xiao, Jay Burton Benziger, Xuemei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

For the first time, the hydrophobicity design of a diffusion layer based on the volatility of hydrogenation reactants in aqueous solutions is reported. The hydrophobicity of the diffusion layer greatly influences the hydrogenation performance of two model biomass derivatives, namely, butanone and maleic acid, in polymer electrolyte membrane reactors operated at atmospheric pressure. Hydrophobic carbon paper repels aqueous solutions, but highly volatile butanone can permeate in vapor form and achieve a high hydrogenation rate, whereas, for nonvolatile maleic acid, great mass transfer resistance prevents hydrogenation. With a hydrophilic stainless-steel welded mesh diffusion layer, aqueous solutions of both butanone and maleic acid permeate in liquid form. Hydrogenation of maleic acid reaches a similar level as that of butanone. The maximum reaction rate is 340 nmolcm-2 s-1 for both hydrogenation systems and the current efficiency reaches 70%. These results are better than those reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-300
Number of pages13
JournalChemSusChem
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Diffusion layers
  • Electrochemistry
  • Fuel cells
  • Hydrogenation

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