Team of scientists find a way to make hydrogen fuel cells less expensive and more efficient

March 25, 2016 0 By Stephen Vagus

New catalyst is capable of improving water electrolysis

Scientists from the Skoltech Institute of Science and Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have developed a new catalyst that may be able to improve the performance of hydrogen fuel cells. The catalyst has shown that it can improve the efficiency of water electrolysis, which is the process through which hydrogen is produced. While more work needs to be done, the scientists believe that the catalyst could vastly improve the capabilities of fuel cell systems in the future.

Team continues work to improve electrolyzer technology

The team has been working to address issues concerning the adoption of water electrolyzer technology. One of the major challenges facing this technology is the fact that it requires a significant amount of electrical power to function properly. This technology also has limited durability and catalysts, specifically, make use of extremely expensive materials, such as platinum and iridium. Scientists believe that catalysts developed with earth abundant materials would be less expensive, thereby making fuel cells more attractive to those interested in clean energy.

New catalyst is less expensive than those commonly used in fuel cells

Scientist at work - Hydrogen FuelScientists have synthesized a series of cobalt-based perovskite oxide catalysts, the properties of which could be modified through the use of the element strontium. The team has been able to measure the surface and bulk properties of the catalyst and model it in such a way to improve water electrolysis. In the future, a catalyst of a similar design could be used to produce less expensive hydrogen fuel cells that are highly efficient.

Improving fuel cell technology is becoming a priority as the technology grows in popularity

Fuel cell technology is becoming more prominent in several industries, especially where transportation is concerned. These energy systems consume hydrogen fuel to produce electrical power, but do not generate any harmful emissions. Finding ways to improve this technology is becoming imperative, as fuel cells can be used as an effective replacement for conventional energy solutions. Reducing the cost of fuel cell technology has become very important to this endeavor.

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