Research team looks to improve hydrogen fuel cell technology

December 4, 2014 0 By Angie Bergenson

Team of researchers from University of Wyoming are looking to replace platinum catalysts with those comprised of common materials

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are working to make fuel cell technology more efficient and less expensive in order to make these energy systems a viable alternative to conventional power sources. The research team is exploring for an alternative to the platinum catalysts that are typically used in fuel cells. These catalysts allow hydrogen fuel cells to produce electrical power, but conventional catalysts are comprised of platinum, which makes them quite expensive.

Replacing platinum could help make fuel cells significantly less expensive than they are currently

Finding an alternative to platinum has been the subject of interest for research groups interested in fuel cell technology. The research team from the University of Wyoming is using a combination of metals in order to develop a new catalyst that may be significantly less expensive than its platinum-based counterparts. Finding the right combination of metals to use for a catalyst is a difficult process, however, as researchers must find metals that can perform as well as platinum.

Yagya Regmi attempts to use combination of metals to replace platinum in fuel cell catalysts

Hydrogen Fuel ResearchYagya Regmi, a Ph.D student at the University of Wyoming, has been studying fuel cells for some time. He has been experimenting with various materials, attempting to find a suitable alternative to platinum. Thus far, Regmi has worked with molybdenum, tungsten, and common metals like iron and cobalt. Regmi has not yet found a viable alternative to platinum, but believes that there is still much research to be done to find the “sweet spot” where common materials can perform as well as platinum.

Advances in fuel cell technology help make these energy systems less expensive

Hydrogen fuel cells have become more popular as alternative energy systems over the past few years, but they are often criticized because of their high cost. The expensive nature of fuel cells has made them somewhat unattractive for commercial energy production, but advances in fuel cell technology have helped drive down the cost of these energy systems to some degree in recent years.