Issue Date: April 25, 2011
Platinum-Free Fuel-Cell Catalyst
The need to use the expensive and rare metal platinum as a catalyst remains a bottleneck for developers of hydrogen fuel cells. But a new group of catalysts composed of cheap and plentiful nonprecious metals may edge the field closer to a reality of inexpensive fuel cells that convert H2 into electricity with H2O as a by-product. Piotr Zelenay and Gang Wu at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their colleagues designed a polymer electrolyte fuel cell, the most common variety used in the development of cars, preparing the cell’s cathode—which typically requires more platinum than the anode—from syntheses involving polyaniline, iron, and cobalt (Science, DOI: 10.1126.science.1200832). The authors say the resulting catalysts performed on par with platinum and also avoided a common problem of producing unwanted hydrogen peroxide.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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