Researchers improve performance of iron-based catalysts

Aug 10, 2011

Having pioneered the development of the first high-performance iron-based catalyst for fuel cells, researchers at INRS recently achieved a second major advance. They developed a new and improved iron-based catalyst capable of generating even more electric power in fuel cells for transportation applications. Previously, only platinum-based catalysts could produce similar performance.

The new research findings from the team of Professor Jean-Pol Dodelet were published in Nature Communications, a prestigious scientific journal part of the Nature Publishing Group. With these new and promising results, we bolster the prospect of iron-based catalysts replacing platinum ones in the electrochemical reduction of , one of two reactions needed to activate the electric power generator we call a . Platinum is rare and very costly, whereas iron is the second most abundant metal on earth and is inexpensive.

"Thanks to this breakthrough we are nearing the day when we will be able to drive electric-electric —i.e. battery and fuel cell powered—, which can potentially free us from our current dependence on oil to power our cars," said Professor Dodelet.

Working at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre in Varennes (Québec), INRS scientists are now focusing on the improvement of the long-term stability (at least 5,000 hours) of these promising new catalysts. "The next step is the most important because it will automatically lead to a high value commercial product, not only for car manufacturers but also for all industrial sectors that use electric power generators or manufacture their components," explained Mr. Dodelet.

Explore further: New material coating technology mimics nature's lotus effect (w/ video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Argonne to study fuel cell catalysts

May 26, 2005

Argonne National Laboratory will receive $3 million over three years for basic science studies that may lead to improved catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells.

Replacing Platinum in Fuel Cell Technology

Oct 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the biggest hindrances to the development of fuel cell technology is its cost. In order to work properly, polymer electrolyte fuel cells require a catalyst. So far, though, the most ...

Fuel cells gearing up to power auto industry

Oct 30, 2007

The average price for all types of gasoline is holding steady around $2.95 per gallon nationwide, but the pain at the pump might be short-lived as research from the University of Houston may eliminate one of the biggest hurdles ...

Carbon Nanotubes Make Fuel Cells Cheaper

Feb 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- As fuel cells are becoming more popular due to their potential use in applications such as hydrogen-powered vehicles, auxiliary power systems, and electronic devices, the need for the precious ...

Recommended for you

A greener source of polyester—cork trees

Apr 16, 2014

On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very). In an unexpected twist, however, scientists are figuring out ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

unknownorgin
1 / 5 (1) Aug 11, 2011
A lot of people are probably kicking themselves saying "of course iron, the perfect oxygen carrier" This goes way back to the nickle/iron edison battery. This will make the fuel cell a practical cost effective device.

More news stories