Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover a way to significantly reduce the production costs of fuel cells

20.12.2011
Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed a new and significantly cheaper method of manufacturing fuel cells.

A noble metal nanoparticle catalyst for fuel cells is prepared using atomic layer deposition (ALD). This ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells requires 60 per cent less of the costly catalyst than current methods.

This is a significant discovery, because researchers have not been able to achieve savings of this magnitude before with materials that are commercially available, says Docent Tanja Kallio of Aalto University.

Fuel cells could replace polluting combustion engines that are presently in use. However, in a fuel cell, chemical processes must be sped up by using a catalyst. The high price of catalysts is one of the biggest hurdles to the wide adoption of fuel cells at the moment.

The most commonly used fuel cells cover anode with expensive noble metal powder which reacts well with the fuel. By using the Aalto University researchers’ ALD method, this cover can be much thinner and more even than before which lowers costs and increases quality.

With this study, researchers are developing better alcohol fuel cells using methanol or ethanol as their fuel. It is easier to handle and store alcohols than commonly used hydrogen. In alcohol fuel cells, it is also possible to use palladium as a catalyst. The most common catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells is platinum, which is twice as expensive as palladium. This means that alcohol fuel cells and palladium will bring a more economical product to the market.

Fuel cells can create electricity that produces very little or even no pollution. They are highly efficient, making more energy and requiring less fuel than other devices of equal size. They are also quiet and require low maintenance, because there are no moving parts.

In the future, fuel cells are expected to power electric vehicles and replace batteries, among other things. Despite their high price, fuel cells have already been used for a long time to produce energy in isolated environments, such as space crafts. These results are based on preliminary testing with fuel cell anodes using a palladium catalyst. Commercial production could start in 5-10 years.

This study was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.
Journal reference: Atomic Layer Deposition Preparation of Pd Nanoparticles on a Porous Carbon Support for Alcohol Oxidation. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2011, 115, 23067–23073. dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp2083659. The research has been funded by Aalto University’s MIDE research program and the Academy of Finland.

Press photos: http://media.digtator.fi/digtator/tmp/1c28a069421e14be5efa2ceaee757327/preview.html

For further information:
Docent Tanja Kallio
School of Chemical Technology, Aalto University
tanja.kallio@aalto.fi
tel. +358 9 470 225 83
Johanna Juselius, Aalto University Communications
johanna.juselius@aalto.fi
tel. +358 50 372 7062
Aalto University, Finland is a new multidisciplinary science and art community in the fields of science, economics, and art and design. The University is founded on Finnish strengths, and its goal is to develop as a unique entity to become one of the world's top universities. Aalto University's cornerstones are its strengths in education and research. At the new University, there are 20,000 basic degree and graduate students as well as a staff of 4,700 of which 340 are professors.

Johanna Juselius | Aalto University
Further information:
http://www.aalto.fi

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Mobile measuring instruments: Caught in flight
07.07.2020 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht PCB-embedded GaN-on-Si half bridge circuits for modular use
06.07.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF

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: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

Im Focus: ILA Goes Digital – Automation & Production Technology for Adaptable Aircraft Production

Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

On-chip spin-Hall nanograting for simultaneously detecting phase and polarization singularities

08.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Engineers use electricity to clean up toxic water

08.07.2020 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Atomic 'Swiss army knife' precisely measures materials for quantum computers

08.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>