Hydrogen fuel cells become faster and greener with new catalyst

May 8, 2006

Hydrogen fuel cells powered by methanol are a promising option for reducing the nation’s nearly 200 billion-gallon-per-year gasoline habit. But, making the technology a reality requires catalysts that speed up the chemical reactions while working under everyday conditions.

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Idaho have developed a highly efficient catalyst of multi-walled carbon nanotubes decorated with tiny particles of a platinum and ruthenium composite. Preparation is a key factor in determining the activity of a catalyst.

The researchers selected a process using supercritical carbon dioxide, which has the properties of a gas and a liquid. The supercritical fluid technology may result in products and processes that are cleaner, less expensive and of higher quality than those produced using conventional solvents.

The technology also is easily manipulated to allow a fine degree of control and is easily separated from the catalyst. Moreover, it is nontoxic, which could improve worker safety and reduce environmental impacts.

PNNL scientist Yuehe Lin will discuss “Pt and Pt-Ru/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites Synthesized in Supercritical Fluid as Electrocatalysts for Low-Temperature Fuel Cells” at NSTI Nanotechnology Conference, May 7-11, Boston.

Source: PNNL

Explore further: Researchers Investigate Supercritical Method of Converting Chicken Fat and Tall Oil into Biodiesel

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale

November 24, 2015

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can ...

New sensor sends electronic signal when estrogen is detected

November 24, 2015

Estrogen is a tiny molecule, but it can have big effects on humans and other animals. Estrogen is one of the main hormones that regulates the female reproductive system - it can be monitored to track human fertility and is ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.