Fuel cells are a promising, non-polluting way to power cars, but their platinum catalysts are so expensive that there’s no way current technology could be economically scaled up for widespread use. Now scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark have developed an alternative that would use just one-fifth as much of the pricey metal. Scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Technical University of Denmark have developed a new fuel cell catalyst that uses much less pricey platinum and is five times more active than platinum alone. If developed commercially, the new catalyst could bring down the cost of fuel cells for vehicles. (iStockphoto.com/gchutka) The new catalyst is a mixture of platinum and a second, cheaper element, yttrium, formed into nanoparticles whose size can be precisely controlled. Electron microscopy and X-ray studies show that yttrium atoms leach out of the surface of these particles, leaving a thin, dense, sturdy crust of platinum atoms to enthusiastically promote a key reaction in the fuel cell that converts oxygen molecules into water. The results were published July 13 in Nature Chemistry. “We now have proof of principle that these nanoparticles work the way we had predicted,”
The post Highly efficient nanoparticles could bring down the cost of fuel cells has been published on Technology Org.
See Zazzle gifts tagged with 'science'