Glucose and other carbohydrates are some of the most abundant renewable energy sources in the world. The oxidation of carbohydrates in a fuel cell allows their chemical energy to be converted directly into electrical energy. Viologen has been indentified and shows promising ability as an electron-transfer catalyst or mediator for carbohydrate oxidation in an alkaline carbohydrate fuel cell. Building on the previous results, the objective of this work was to develop an immobilization chemistry of viologen onto an electrode and to investigate the catalytic activity for carbohydrate oxidation in direct carbohydrate fuel cells.The immobilization was achieved by electropolymerizing a novel viologen monomer onto an electrode surface. The novel viologen monomer, which functions as a monosubstituted viologen, was synthesized and isolated in-house. Gold-plated nickel wire and graphite disks were used as the substrates for the electropolymerization. SEM, EDAX, XPS and water-contact-angle measurement were used to verify the formation of the coating on the gold and graphite surfaces. The catalytic activity of the immobilized viologen on graphite disk surface was examined using a fuel-cell-like device. The test was operated within the desired pH range for an operating fuel cell; it was found that the immobilized viologen polymer has a low catalytic activity toward oxidizing carbohydrates. In addition, the electrochemical properties of the novel viologen monomer were investigated by the method of cyclic voltammetry, as well as for that of two aminoviologens synthesized in-house. Redox potentials, diffusion coefficients, and heterogeneous electron-transfer rate constants were determined.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





viologen, electropolymerization, fuel cell, voltammetry