From: Chalmers University of Technology
Published May 24, 2017 02:51 PM

Nanoalloys ten times as effective as pure platinum in fuel cells

A new type of nanocatalyst can result in the long-awaited commercial breakthrough for fuel cell cars. Research results from Chalmers University of Technology and Technical University of Denmark show that it is possible to significantly reduce the need for platinum, a precious and rare metal, by creating a nanoalloy using a new production technique. The technology is also well suited for mass production.

“A nano solution is needed to mass-produce resource-efficient catalysts for fuel cells. 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 per cent”, says Björn Wickman, researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.

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”, says Björn Wickman.

Even though there have been fuel cell cars for about fifty years, advances have not led to a commercial breakthrough. The catalysts in today’s fuel cells require large amounts of platinum, which is one of the world’s most expensive metals.

Read more at Chalmers University of Technology

Image: Chalmers researchers Niklas Lindahl and Björn Wickman following the process when the new nanoalloy is created in a vacuum chamber in a clean room at Chalmers. A new type of resource-efficient nanocatalysts for fuel cells can radically reduce the need for the precious metal platinum. It paves the way for the commercial breakthrough of fuel cell cars. (Credits: Mia Halleröd Palmgren)

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