Formic Acid Oxidation On Metal Electrodes

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the mechanism of the formic acid oxidation reaction (FAOR) on metal electrodes is of both applied and fundamental relevance. The
FAOR is the simplest possible electrooxidation reaction involving an organic molecule. Furthermore, formic acid is a liquid, and it exhibits much less
membrane crossover with Nafion than methanol. Metals are the simplest and most usual electrocatalysts for this reaction. Despite the advantages
outlined above, direct formic acid fuel cells (DFAFCs) are far from being a widespread competitive alternative for energy conversion. Leaving apart
problems associated with the oxygen reduction reaction in the cathode, common to all fuel cells, DFAFCs-anode electrocatalysts suffer from low
efficiency and/or low durability. Focusing on the efficiency problem, this is mainly due to catalyst inactivation by chemisorbed carbon monoxide,
and to the fact that those metals with the highest activity for the FAOR are generally also the most prone to CO poisoning. Developing
electrocatalysts with high activity for the oxidation of formic acid to CO2 and immune to CO poisoning requires a detailed understanding of the
reaction mechanism. However, despite the apparent simplicity of the reaction (oxidation of HCOOH to CO2 only requires breaking one C-H bond
and one O-H bond, and transferring two electrons), the reaction mechanism is still barely understood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Interfacial Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSurface Science and Electrochemistry
EditorsKlaus Wandelt, Conrad Becker, Falko Netzer, Ueli Heiz, Roberto Otero, Markus Lackinger, Andrew Teplyakov, Kurt Kolasinski, Peter Broekmann, Soma Vesztergom, Juan Miguel Feliu Martinez, Victor Climent, Miquel B. Salmeron, Francesco Di Quarto, Pankaj Vadgama
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128098943
ISBN (Print)9780128097397
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018


  • adsorbed carbon monoxide
  • adsorbed formate
  • FAOR
  • formic acid
  • dehydration
  • dehydrogenation
  • electrooxidation
  • reaction kinetics
  • reaction mechanism


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