New catalyst of platinum nanoparticles could lead to conk-out free, stable fuel cells
Scientists at Cornell Universityâ€™s Energy Materials Center discover a catalyst and catalyst-support combination for next generation fuel cells
To create a catalyst system that can tolerate more carbon monoxide, Cornell Professors HĂ©ctor D. AbruĂ±a, Francis J.DiSalvo and members of the research team deposited platinum nanoparticles on a support material of titanium oxide with added tungsten to increase its electrical conductivity.
Their research shows that the new material works with fuel that contains as much as 2 percent carbon monoxide â€“ a level that is about 2000 times that which typically poisons pure platinum. Also, the material is more stable and less expensive than pure platinum. With the new catalyst, said Dr. AbruĂ±a, â€śyou can use much less-clean hydrogen, and that's more cost-effective because hydrogen derived from petroleum has a very high content of carbon monoxide. You need to scrub off the carbon monoxide and it's very expensive to do that.â€ť
The researchers are now preparing to put the catalyst to the test in real fuel cells. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the Energy Materials Center at Cornell.