Nanoalloys to replace pure platinum in fuel cells

Pure platinum with thin fixed foils of yttrium have been used to create the new nanoalloys that are said to be 10 times as effective as pure platinum in fuel cells.
According to research conducted by Chalmers University of Technology and the Technical University of Denmark, a new type of nanocatalyst can result in the long-awaited commercial breakthrough for fuel cell cars.

Niklas Lindahl, researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, said: “Fuel cells convert chemical energy into electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen - with water as the only product. They have huge potential for sustainable energy solutions in transport, portable electronics and energy.”

The catalysts in today's fuel cells require large amounts of platinum, which is one of the world's most expensive metals. The research is said to show that it is possible to significantly reduce the need for platinum by creating a nanoalloy using a new production technique. The technology is also claimed to be well suited for mass production.

Björn Wickman, researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers, said: “With our method, only one tenth as much platinum is needed for the most demanding reactions. This can reduce the amount of platinum required for a fuel cell by about 70%.”

If this level of efficiency is possible to achieve in a fuel cell, the amount of required platinum would be comparable to what is used in an ordinary car catalytic converter.

“Hopefully, this will allow fuel cells to replace fossil fuels and also be a complement to battery-powered cars,” added Wickman.

Previous research has shown that it is possible to mix platinum with other metals, such as yttrium, to reduce the amount of platinum in a fuel cell. Even so, no one has yet managed to create alloys with these metals in nanoparticle form in a manner that can be used for large-scale production. The major problem has been that yttrium oxidises instead of forming an alloy with the platinum.

This problem has now been solved, the Chalmers researchers say, by combining the metals in a vacuum chamber using a technique called sputtering. The result is a nanometre-thin film of the new alloy that allows mass-produced platinum and yttrium fuel cell catalysts.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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good article! thanx for sharing:)

Comment champak steel, 03/11/2017
Thin film will be hard to nanocarbon support. Indeed, blue-O tech's patented nanotechnology has shown excellent power density over 1.2 W/cm^2 at 0.150 mg/cm^2. Visit us and learn this commercial ready nanocatalyst for Fuel Cells.

Comment Hanson, 05/06/2017
"According to research conducted by Chalmers University of Technology ***AND*** the Technical University of Denmark..."

Comment Tom Austin-Morgan, 30/05/2017
Chalmers is Swedish..
Not Danish..

Comment Tobbe, 30/05/2017

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