Researchers have developed a new fuel cell that can produce the same amount of electricity as current cells while using just one fifth of the amount of platinum.
Fuel cells for hydrogen cars may be a step in the right direction as fossil fuel-driven cars contribute heavily to pollution of the environment. The fuel cell technology, however, requires a good amount of platinum for the catalytic reaction. Therefore, with the limited platinum resources available, sustainable mass production of fuel cell-driven hydrogen cars isn’t feasible.
Modern day fuel cells have platinum particles (granules) spread across an area to achieve the desired conversion. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University Munchen and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Dusseldorf have discovered, by chance, that tightly packed platinum particles will yield greater results rather than the sizes of the particles themselves.
The researchers are dubbing their discovery as the “Particle Proximity Effect”, and are currently trying to develop a chemical method to produce the tightly packed catalyst on an industrial scale.
Efficient use of platinum in this instance may also lead to quicker and possibly cheaper hydrogen-driven cars in the future.