New catalyst could make hydrogen fuel cells more affordable

October 12, 2015 0 By Stephen Vagus
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Research team develops new fuel cell catalyst comprised of molybdenum

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories are looking to make hydrogen fuel cells less expensive, and in order to do this, they have developed a new catalyst that is made up of inexpensive materials. Primarily, the catalyst is comprised of molybdenum disulfide, which is significantly less expensive than the platinum that is typically used to develop fuel cell catalysts. Platinum is part of the reason why fuel cells are so expensive, as a single gram of platinum comes at the price of $1,500.

Molybdenum is less expensive and can power hydrogen production efficiently

Molybdenum costs approximately 37 cents per gram, making it an affordable alternative to platinum. The reason platinum has been used to develop fuel cell catalysts is because the material has electrochemical properties that make it ideal for these energy systems. It is also resilient to the chemical processes that occur within a hydrogen fuel cells. The new catalyst from Sandia National Laboratories may bring major changes to the fuel cell industry by making fuel cells more efficient and less expensive.

New catalyst can produce hydrogen fuel through the use of sunlight

Fuel Cell Catalyst make vehicles more affordableThe researchers note that the new catalyst has succeeded in producing four times as much hydrogen fuel from water than other types of catalysts. Researchers believe that the capabilities of the catalyst can be further improved, with more experimentation planned for the future. The research team is looking to form a better understanding of how to integrate molybdenum into a fuel cell. One of the notable aspects of the new catalyst is that it can power electrochemical processes through the use of sunlight, which makes the hydrogen fuel production process more environmentally friendly.

Inexpensive catalysts could make fuel cell vehicles more popular

Hydrogen fuel has become quite popular in many industries, particularly when it comes to transportation. Many automakers are developing fuel cell vehicles with plans to launch these vehicles in the near future. The problem, however, is that these vehicles are quite expensive due to the costly nature of their fuel cells. Finding new catalysts can help solve this problem, making fuel cell vehicles more attractive.