backtop


Print 35 comment(s) - last by lifeson22.. on Aug 12 at 3:26 AM


Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle  (Source: DailyTech)
New catalyst is 2000 times more tolerant of carbon monoxide

The quest for alternative fuel sources that are cleaner, cheaper, and more abundant than traditional fossil fuels is underway around the world. Researchers are studying everything from battery power to solar energy and fuel cells.

Fuel cells hold great promise and have long been studied as alternatives to fossil fuels. Traditionally, the problems plaguing fuel cell-powered vehicles that run from hydrogen include how to produce the hydrogen cheaply and how to store it safely. Despite issues that still surround fuel cell-powered vehicles, a study conducted in June by Pike Research found that within the next decade 670,000 fuel cell powered vehicles would be sold each year.

Researchers at the Cornell University Energy Materials Center have made a breakthrough discovery that will make hydrogen fuel cell power much more economical. The breakthrough comes in the form of a new catalyst that uses platinum nanoparticles. Platinum is traditionally used in fuel cells as the catalyst, but platinum is expensive and can be easily deactivated in the presence of even low levels of carbon monoxide rendering the fuel cell inoperable.

The Cornell researchers have discovered a method of making the platinum catalyst able to withstand thousands of times more carbon monoxide. The process also makes the platinum catalyst material much cheaper to produce. The team created the catalyst using platinum nano particles that are deposited on a support material of titanium oxide. The team then added tungsten to increase the electrical conductivity of the catalyst. The resulting platinum catalyst is 2,000 times more resistant to carbon monoxide than a catalyst using pure platinum. 

That higher resistance to carbon monoxide means that the fuel cell can burn hydrogen with as much as 2% carbon monoxide in it. The researchers say this is very important because hydrogen derived from petroleum has a high concentration of carbon monoxide in it. The ability for the catalyst to withstand more carbon monoxide eliminates the need to clean the hydrogen as much, thereby reducing the cost of making hydrogen.



Comments     Threshold


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

Hardly call it a breakthrough
By trisct on 8/3/2010 10:43:58 AM , Rating: 2
More of an incremental step in materials science, useful for a small percentage of possible fuel sources for an experimental product.

We hear about breakthrough discoveries in energy production almost every day. None of them are more than incremental improvements. A breakthrough is supposed to be a revolutionary discovery that will result in lasting change - I doubt this is ever going to excite many people outside of oil company laboratories.




By MastermindX on 8/3/2010 1:04:29 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
New catalyst is 2000 times more tolerant of carbon monoxide


A breakthrough is any improvement that is order of magnitude larger than regular improvements.

For exemple, according the Moore's law:
quote:
The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit double approximately every two years


So, if a new process allows to, let say, multiply by 100 every 2 years, that would be breakthrough.

Now, I don't know what kind of improvement research on catalyst yields, but I'd be really surprised to see anything higher than 2-3 times better. Certainly nowhere near the 2000 times better stated on this. So yes, as far as I'm concerned, this is breakthrough.

It's not because you don't care about a discovery it shouldn't be called a breakthrough.


"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken














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