Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 11;12(1):19354. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-23798-2.
Finding suitable non-expensive electrocatalyst materials for methanol oxidation is a significant challenge. Waste valorization of spent wastewater nanoadsorbents is a promising route toward achieving circular economy guidelines. In this study, the residual of layered double hydroxide (LDH) can be used as an electrocatalyst in direct methanol fuel cells as a novel approach. The Co-Ni-Zn-Fe LDH was prepared by the co-precipitation method followed by the adsorption of methyl orange (MO). Moreover, the spent adsorbent was calcined at different temperatures (200, 400, and 600 °C) to be converted to the corresponding mixed metal oxides (MMO). The prepared samples were characterized using XRD, FTIR, HRTEM, zeta potential, and hydrodynamic size measurements. The spent adsorbent was tested as an electro-catalyst for direct methanol electro-oxidation. The spent LDH/MO adsorbent showed a maximum current density of 6.66 mA/cm2 at a 50 mV/s scan rate and a 1 M methanol concentration. The spent MMO/MO adsorbent showed a maximum current density of 8.40 mA/cm2 at a 200 °C calcination temperature, 50 mV/s scan rate, and a 3 M methanol concentration. Both samples show reasonable stability over time, as indicated by the chronoamperometric response. Further nanoengineering of used nanoadsorbents could be a promising path to repurposing these wastes as electro-oxidation catalysts.