SINGAPORE: Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a more powerful and longer lasting fuel cell material.
They used a mixture of gold, copper and platinum nano—particles.
Fuel cells are a promising technology for use as a source of electricity to power electronic devices, vehicles, military aircraft and equipment.
The cells can produce electricity continuously as long as there is a fuel supply.
Current commercially available fuel cells use platinum nano—particles as the catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction, because platinum is the only metal that can resist the highly acidic conditions inside such a cell.
However, the widespread use of fuel cells has been impeded by the high cost of platinum and its low stability.
To overcome this limitation, the researchers —— led by IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying —— discovered that by replacing the central part of the catalyst with a gold and copper alloy and leaving just the outer layer in platinum, the new hybrid material can provide five times higher activity and much greater stability than the commercial platinum catalyst.
The research was published recently in the Energy and Environmental Science journal.
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