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Biological Chemistry

Toyota Claims Fuel-Cell Breakthrough

by Melody M. Bomgardner
May 25, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 21

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Credit: Toyota Motor
Toyota’s Mirai fuel-cell vehicle (shown) relies on platinum.
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Credit: Toyota Motor
Toyota’s Mirai fuel-cell vehicle (shown) relies on platinum.

Toyota’s Mirai sedan, a hydrogen-fuel-cell car being introduced this year, depends on a platinum catalyst. During the cell’s operating life, the platinum catalyst nanoparticles grow in size, decreasing their activity. A new observation method developed by Toyota and the Japan Fine Ceramics Center enables researchers to determine the causes of this particle “coarsening” and may help find ways to prevent it from happening. The method involves applying voltage to a sample of the particles and their environment mounted in a transmission electron microscope.

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