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Carbon-Based Fuel Cells Replacing or Reducing Platinum

Researchers in Canada and Japan are working on two different methods to eliminate expensive platinum from fuel cells bringing down the costs of future hydrogen cars as much as $5,000. Researchers in California, on the other hand, are using nanotechnology to greatly reduce the amount of platinum needed in hydrogen fuel cells. All of the scientists are using carbon in one form or another to achieve results.

Researchers at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Quebec have developed a catalyst that uses iron, nitrogen, and carbon producing 99 amps, which far exceeds other non-precious metal catalysts and matches typical platinum catalysts. The process involves creating more tiny pores in the carbon that nitrogen and iron can cling to in order to promote the chemical reactions.

Meanwhile, researchers at Nisshinbo Industries in Japan have developed a carbon alloy catalyst to replace platinum. This catalyst does not cause any corrosion of fuel cell parts unlike other metal catalysts can. Production costs can be dropped by 1/6 using this new catalyst.

And, in San Bernardino, California, Professor Yushan Yan is using nanotechnology to use ¼ less platinum in his fuel cells. Professor Yan is developing carbon nanotubes coated inside and out with a tiny amount of platinum in order to create a catalytic reaction.

Now, I’ve talked before about using carbon in fuel cells to replace or reduce platinum including doped carbon nanotubes and hairy carbon fuel cell electrodes. With all the talk about carbon caps, carbon footprints and reducing carbon in our environment it is a bit ironic that adding carbon may be the answer in bringing cost-effective zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola

I’m a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Why are researchers in California trying to reduce the amount of platinum instead
    of eliminating it altogether? Platinum is rare and expensive, why use any?

    I hear that Mercedes is 3 -6 years from commercializing a fuel cell car.

    How much energy does it take to get hydrogen? I’m getting bombarded on by people who say that hydrogen is a scam because it is
    inefficient to use energy to acquire it, never mind that chemical batteries
    will never free us from OIL. Never mind that plug-ins need electricity
    which has to come from somewhere.

  2. admin

    The long term goal is to not use any platinum. The short term goal is to use as little as possible, to bring down the costs of fuel cells and make them commercially viable as quickly as possible.

    Asking how much energy it takes to get hydrogen is like asking how much energy it takes to carry water. There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to produce hydrogen.

    Heres some more information on hydrogen production:

    There is no perfect solution for alt cars at the moment only a desire for a perfect solution.

  3. for years i wanted a no platium anoid and cathode reaction from materials better than platium id perfer total replacement, then there is nothing in the way of using hydrogen.

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