The research, “Highly Stable and CO-Tolerant Pt/Ti0.7W0.3O2 Electrocatalyst for Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells,” led by Héctor D. Abruña, Cornell professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and director of the Energy Materials Center at Cornell (emc2); Francis J. DiSalvo, Cornell professor Chemistry and Chemical Biology; Deli Wang, post doctoral researcher; Chinmayee V. Subban, graduate student; Hongsen Wang, research associate; and Eric Rus, graduate student.
Hydrogen fuel cells offer an appealing alternative to gasoline-burning cars: They have the potential to power vehicles for long distances using hydrogen as fuel, mitigate carbon dioxide production and emit only water vapor.
However, fuel cells generally require very pure hydrogen to work. That means that conventional fuels must be stripped of carbon monoxide – a process that is too expensive to make fuel cells commercially viable.
Fuel cells work by electrochemically decomposing fuel instead of burning it, converting energy directly into electricity.
The problem is that platinum and platinum/ruthenium alloys, which are often used as catalysts in PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells, are expensive and easily rendered ineffective by exposure to even low levels of carbon monoxide.
To create a catalyst system that can tolerate more carbon monoxide, Abruña, DiSalvo and colleagues deposited platinum nanoparticles on a support material of titanium oxide with added tungsten to increase its electrical conductivity.
Their research shows that the new material works with fuel that contains as much as 2 percent carbon monoxide – a level that is about 2000 times that which typically poisons pure platinum. Also, the material is more stable and less expensive than pure platinum. With the new catalyst, said Abruña, “you can use much less-clean hydrogen, and that's more cost-effective because hydrogen derived from petroleum has a very high content of carbon monoxide. You need to scrub off the carbon monoxide and it's very expensive to do that.”
The researchers are now preparing to put the catalyst to the test in real fuel cells. “So far, indications are very good,” Abruña said.
In preliminary experiments comparing the new material’s performance with pure platinum, he added, the platinum cell was readily poisoned by carbon monoxide and conked out early. Said Abruña: “But ours was still running like a champ.”
The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the Energy Materials Center at Cornell, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the Department of Energy.
Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
25.07.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces
25.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
25.07.2017 | Life Sciences