Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Emissions-Free Cars Get Closer


Paper characterizes essential reaction for renewable energy fuel cells

A University of Delaware research team is considering the important question of what it will take to create an affordable emissions-free car.

University of Delaware

New findings could help create alternative electrocatalysts for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, such as this bus at the University of Delaware.

The question, an issue of engineering and economics, is being studied by a team led by Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering.

Hydrogen fuel cells may be the best option for powering zero-emission vehicles: Toyota has just introduced a hydrogen-powered car in Japan and will make them available in the United States in 2015.

But these fuel cells require an electrocatalyst — a platinum surface — to increase the reaction rate, and the cost of the precious metal makes it hard for hydrogen fuel cells to compete economically with the internal combustion engine.

Yan’s group has been working on a new type of fuel cells, using alkaline polymers that could employ a number of non-precious metal catalysts such as nickel, which is a thousand times cheaper than platinum.

But using alkaline polymers leads to a high pH, and researchers have discovered that the reaction goes about 100 times more slowly in this environment that it does in an acid. In order to create less expensive electrocatalysts that work well in an alkaline environment, researchers have to know exactly how the reaction unfolds, and what its most essential mechanisms are.

A paper by Yan’s research group, published in the Jan. 8 issue of the multidisciplinary journal Nature Communications, helps pin down the basic mechanisms of the fuel-cell reaction on platinum, which will help researchers create alternative electrocatalysts.

After extensive testing, the team found that the hydrogen binding energy (the amount of energy released when a hydrogen molecule adheres to a metal surface) was the most important factor predicting the rate of the reaction — information essential to researchers designing new catalyst materials.

The paper was authored by the laboratory’s recent postdoctoral researchers Wenchao Sheng and Minrui Gao; current postdoctoral student Zhongbin Zhuang and current doctoral candidate Jie Zheng, along with Yan and Columbia University’s Jingguang Chen.

The paper, “Correlating Hydrogen Oxidation and Evolution Activity on Platinum at Different pH with Measured Hydrogen Binding Energy,” can be found here.

Contact Information
Andrea Boyle Tippett
Director, External Relations
Phone: 302-831-1421
Mobile: 302-690-5138

Andrea Boyle Tippett | newswise
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht 'Super yeast' has the power to improve economics of biofuels
18.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent sensors
14.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>