Borohydride fuel cell has been constructed for the first time using multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MCNT), functionalized MWCNT, platinized MWCNT or polycarbzole (Pcz) as electrodes. The output characteristics of borohydride fuel cell with platinized MWCNT electrodes have been shown to be superior to the conventional graphite based borohydride fuel cells. The catalytic activity of platinized carbon nanotubes has also been established in this study.

The MWCNTs have been functionalized by refluxing in 60-70% nitric acid for a period of 12 hours. The functionalized MWCNTs were characterized by FTIR and TGA. Platinization of MWCNTs was carried out electrochemically from chloroplatinic acid. Platinization of the tubes was demonstrated through SEM and XRD. Cyclic Voltammetry was used to characterize the platinum in MWCNT.

Fuel cells were constructed using MWCNT of different forms as the anode and commercially available oxygen electrode as the cathode. The current values at different loads were measured and plotted to construct the "load curves". From this data, the power density maps were generated. The power output of borohydride fuel cell has been shown to be higher than the graphite based fuel cell. The performance of borohydride fuel cells with Pcz electrode could not be decisive as the polymer deposited on platinum was used in the experiments. The polymer tends to peel off with time due to hydrogen bubbles generated in the medium. In the short time of the cell operation, it produced open circuit voltage of 1.369 V that is about 50% more than the commercially available borohydride fuel cell. However, it was noticed that it functions well as the cathode material in the borohydride fuel cells.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fuel cells--Electrodes--Design and construction; Electrodes, Carbon--Testing; Nanotubes--Testing

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Materials Science and Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Center for Materials Science and Engineering


K.S.V. Santhanam


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TK7725 .D47 2005


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