backtop


Print 20 comment(s) - last by randomly.. on Sep 21 at 9:48 AM

Researchers discovered ideal particles size for catalyst inside a fuel cell

Researchers are working hard to develop hydrogen fuel cells as a viable method of powering automobiles. The problem with this type of fuel cell at this point is that the storage of hydrogen is difficult and the fuel cells don’t last as long as manufacturers would like.

Two scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made an important stride in making hydrogen fuel cell vehicles more viable. The two scientists -- Professor Dane Morgan and PhD student Edward Holby -- have designed a computational model that can optimize one of the most important components of a fuel cell, possibly leading to a longer usable life.

The computational model is being used to investigate how the particle size of a material relates to the overall stability of the material. The researchers are using the model to look at the most efficient and effective particle size for the catalyst inside the fuel cell.

The fuel cell catalyst is typically made from platinum or platinum alloy. The catalyst is used to aid the reaction between the protons, electronics, and oxygen at the cathode inside the cell. Platinum is able to withstand the corrosive fuel cell environment but is costly and not available in abundance.

Platinum particles used inside current fuel cell catalysts are as small as two nanometers across. The tiny particles offer enough surface area for the reaction, but are quickly destroyed and degrade rapidly. The degradation of the catalyst means that the fuel cell doesn't last long. The Department of Energy figures that a fuel cell needs to last for 7 months of continuous use for automotive needs.

The computational model developed by the pair has shown that the ideal particle size for the catalyst is about 20 atoms across, roughly twice as large as the particles inside fuel cells today. At the 20-atom size, the particles degrade much slower and allow the fuel cell to function significantly longer.

Morgan likens the stability of larger particles to cheese, "When you leave a large chunk of cheese out and the edges get crusty, the surface is destroyed, but you can cut that off and there is still a lot of cheese inside that is good. But if you crumble the cheese into tiny pieces and leave it out, you destroy all of your cheese because a larger fraction of the cheese is at the surface."

Another group of researchers made a breakthrough in July with the potential to make storing hydrogen for fuel cells more efficient.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Shows some promise
By namechamps on 9/21/2009 8:27:27 AM , Rating: 2
Average EV battery pack is ~10kwh

Say charging system is 200V.

10kwh / 200V = 50ah.

So if wanted the vehicle to charge in 1 hour it would need to push 50 amps.
If you wanted the vehicle to charge in 20 minutes it would need ot push 150 amps.

If you wanted the vehicle to charge in 5 minutes it would need to push 600 amps.

Now 600 amp connectors do exist but they are high cost industrial connectors not something that you put in a consumer device where people are distracted while refueling. They also tend not to be high use connectors. An average fuel pump may be used 2-3 million times per year. High amp industrial connectors tend to be inspected routinely by experts.

So the first time a consumer attempt to charge their EV with a damage plug or receptacle and electrocutes themselves the except multi million dollar lawsuit.

No way is any company going to open themselves up to a lawsuit by pushing that much current.

Also for home charging it simply is not possible. House wiring can't handle that much current. Hell many house mains can't handle that much current.


"This is from the DailyTech.com. It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki