New Non-Precious Metal Catalysts for Hydrogen Fuel-Cells

Less expensive fuel cell may be possible. ‘Replacing platinum with non-precious metal composite could reduce cost of hydrogen fuel cells. Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a new class of hydrogen fuel-cell catalysts that exhibit promising activity and stability. The catalysts are made of low-cost nonprecious metals entrapped in something called a heteroatomic-polymer structure, instead of platinum materials typically used in fuel cells. In research published recently in the scientific journal Nature, Los Alamos scientists Rajesh Bashyam and Piotr Zelenay describe tests conducted on a cobalt-polypyrrole-carbon (Co-PPY-XC72) composite. The composite, consisting of cobalt, polymer and carbon, was developed in research aimed at developing low-cost non-platinum catalysts for the polymer electrolyte fuel-cell (PEFC) cathode. While the electrical energy producing activity of the catalyst is lower than that of platinum-based catalysts used in polymer electrolyte fuel cells, the new material shows exceptional performance stability for over one hundred hours of continuous testing, a result never before obtained with non-precious metal catalysts in PEFCs.’



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