Researchers discover a way to improve hydrogen fuel cellsFebruary 7, 2017
Research team to use new catalyst to power hydrogen fuel cells
Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have found a way to accelerate the hydrogen fuel production process, making fuel cells more efficient and attractive renewable energy solutions. The research team has begun making use of a new catalyst that they claim can speed up the hydrogen generation process 1,000 times. Using the catalyst could allow fuel cell vehicles to fuel much more quickly, which may make them somewhat more attractive to consumers.
New catalyst is comprised on nickel rather than platinum
The catalyst is comprised of a nickel molecular complex, which is immersed in a protic ionic liquid. The new catalyst is less expensive than its more conventional counterparts. Typically, conventional catalysts make use of platinum, which allows them to operate effectively. Using nickel, however, researchers have been able to cut down on the cost of fuel cell development. Moreover, the catalyst can generate hydrogen fuel efficiently. Researchers hope that the catalyst will eventually allow fuel cells to be refueled within 90 seconds or less.
Hydrogen fuel cells continue to gain more attention
Hydrogen fuel cells have become somewhat popular in the transportation sector. Many of the world’s leading automakers have begun developing vehicles equipped with fuel cell systems. Some of these companies have already released such vehicles, finding a modest degree of success. Most fuel cells make use of platinum catalysts, which is why they are somewhat more expensive when compared to other renewable energy solutions. By replacing platinum with a less expensive material, researchers believe that hydrogen fuel cells will become much more common, especially if automakers choose to embrace new catalyst technology.
US hydrogen fuel market set to expand in the coming years
The hydrogen fuel market in the United States has been growing quickly in recent years. This is largely due to the efforts of research groups like that coming from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. As researchers continue to find ways to improve hydrogen fuel cells, these energy systems are likely to become more popular in the near future. Fuel cells are already seeing a great deal of use in industrial sectors, but they may find the most success in transportation.