Platinum Based Catalysts for the Electrochemical Oxidation of Ammonia, Ammonia Oxidation on the Ground Vs. Microgravity & the Electrochemical Ammonia Removal System
Poventud Estrada, Carlos M.
Cabrera, Carlos R. (Consejero)
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This project is about optimizing the electrochemical oxidation of ammonia. The goal is to enhance the electrochemical oxidation of ammonia by synthesizing platinum based catalysts and develop a Direct Ammonia Alkaline Fuel Cell (DAAFC) that can remove the ammonia from a water stream and produce energy as well. Platinum is a well-known ammonia catalyst and this work is geared towards synthesizing faceted platinum (100) based catalysts on carbon supports to improve catalytic activity, its corresponding testing on the ground versus microgravity during two NASA parabolic flight campaigns and the electrode performance within a DAAFC. Chapter 2 introduces the concept of ammonia oxidation and Fuel Cells, particularly the DAAFC. We begin to explore onto how can we improve the redox reaction by employing platinum nanoparticles with preferential (100) surface and how to maximize its utilization by supporting the nanoparticles on high surface area carbon. We finish with experimental data from the DAAFCs. Chapter 3 has a thorough explanation of the Electrochemical Microgravity Laboratory (EML) as per specifications from the NASA Reduce Gravity Office. This equipment with the documentation provided herein have been the key to our parabolic flight campaigns and have set the baseline to keep improving in order to establish a microgravity flight program within the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. In Chapter 4 you will find the results and explanation of our first microgravity campaign in 2011. Many of the concerns that were still open from Micro-G CANM 1 flight campaign are answered in detail in Chapter 5. It provides a detailed physical description of the catalyst utilized for our second campaign (Micro-G CANM 2) and the results establish a baseline for diffusion limited processes in space. Chapter 6 possess the experimental results and a detailed description of the Electrochemical Ammonia Removal system designed and build to be integrated to the Forward Osmosis Secondary Treatment system developed by NASA Ames Research Center as a water reclamation system for future space missions.