Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus electricity from wind power plants. However, the platinum used in fuel cells is rare and extremely expensive, which has been a limiting factor in applications up to now.
A research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) led by Roland Fischer, Professor for Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry, Aliaksandr Bandarenka, Physics of Energy Conversion and Storage and Alessio Gagliardi, Professor for Simulation of Nanosystems for Energy Conversion, has now optimized the size of the platinum particles to such a degree that the particles perform at levels twice as high as the best processes commercially available today.
Fuel - Cells - Hydrogen - Reacts - Oxygen
In fuel cells, hydrogen reacts with oxygen to produce water, generating electricity in the process. Sophisticated catalysts at the electrodes are required in order to optimize this conversion. Platinum plays a central role in the oxygen-reduction reaction.
Searching for an ideal solution, the team created a computer model of the complete system. The central question: How small can a cluster of platinum atoms be and still have a highly active catalytic effect? "It turns out that there are certain optimum sizes for platinum stacks," explains Fischer.
Particles - Nanometer - Platinum - Atoms - Platinum
Particles measuring about one nanometer and containing approximately 40 platinum atoms are ideal. "Platinum catalysts of this order of size have a...
Wake Up To Breaking News!
When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.