Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have invented a new type of catalyst that involves nitrogen doped carbon nanotubes that could lead to cheaper alkaline fuel cells and batteries. The new technology is robust and doesn’t rely on precious metals.
According to LANL, “The new catalyst doesn’t use precious metals such as platinum, which is more expensive per ounce than gold, yet it performs under certain conditions as effectively as many well-known and prohibitively expensive precious-metal catalysts developed for battery and fuel-cell use.
“Moreover, although the catalyst is based on nitrogen-containing carbon nanotubes, it does not require the tedious, toxic and costly processing that is usually required when converting such materials for catalytic use.”
Moreover, this technology may give rise to a particular type of metal-air battery called a lithium-air battery, which has 10 times greater storage potential than a lithium-ion battery. So, what this means to hydrogen fuel cell cars, most of which are hybrid vehicles, is cheaper and more robust fuel cells along with more powerful secondary lithium-air batteries. Sounds like a good combination to me.
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