In reactions during the stop-and-go driving of an electric car, however, the platinum dissolves, which reduces its efficiency as a catalyst. This is a major impediment for vehicle-application of fuel cells.
Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have overcome this problem. Under lab conditions that imitate the environment of a fuel cell, the researchers added gold clusters to the platinum electrocatalyst, which kept it intact during an accelerated stability test. This test is conducted under conditions similar to those encountered in stop-and-go driving in an electric car. The research is reported in the January 12, 2007, edition of the journal Science.
Brookhaven's Chemistry Department researchers Junliang Zhang, Kotaro Sasaki, and Radoslav Adzic, along with Eli Sutter from Brookhaven's Center for Functional Nanomaterials, authored the research paper. "Fuel cells are expected to become a major source of clean energy, with particularly important applications in transportation," said coauthor Radoslav Adzic. "Despite many advances, however, existing fuel-cell technology still has drawbacks, including loss of platinum cathode electrocatalysts, which can be as much as 45 percent over five days, as shown in our accelerated stability test under potential cycling conditions. Using a new technique that we developed to deposit gold atoms on platinum, our team was able to show promise in helping to resolve this problem. The next step is to duplicate results in real fuel cells."
A hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and, as part of the process, produces electricity. Platinum electrocatalysts speed up oxidation and reduction reactions. Hydrogen is oxidized when electrons are released and hydrogen ions are formed; the released electrons supply current for an electric motor. Oxygen is reduced by gaining electrons, and in reaction with hydrogen ions, water, the only byproduct of a fuel cell reaction, is produced.
In the unique method developed at Brookhaven, the researchers displaced a single layer of copper with gold on carbon-supported platinum nanoparticles. After being subjected to several sweeps of 1.2 volts, the gold monolayer transformed into three-dimensional clusters. Using x-rays as probes at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source, a scanning transmission microscope at Brookhaven's Center for Functional Nanomaterials, and electrochemical techniques in the laboratory, the scientists were able to verify the reduced oxidation of platinum and to determine the structure of the resulting platinum electrocatalyst with gold clusters, which helped them to gain an understanding of the effects of the gold clusters.
In the Brookhaven experiment, the platinum electrocatalyst remained stable with potential cycling between 0.6 and 1.1 volts in over 30,000 oxidation-reduction cycles, imitating the conditions of stop-and-go driving. "The gold clusters protected the platinum from being oxidized," Adzic said. "Our team's research raises promising possibilities for synthesizing improved platinum-based catalysts and for stabilizing platinum and platinum-group metals under cycling oxidation/reduction conditions."
Diane Greenberg | EurekAlert!
Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene
19.09.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy