Platinum is expensive and that’s a fact. That is why many fuel cell manufacturers are trying to use nickel or other metal alternatives for fuel cells that run automobiles. The only problem is that these platinum-free fuel cells have only been mildly successful. Longevity and efficiency have suffered.
The other alternative is to build fuel cells that use less platinum, driving down the costs to the point where they can be commercialized. In order to do this a company also has to increase efficiency and longevity of the fuel cell.
Researchers at the University of Rochester, in New York believe they have done just this using platinum nanowire technology. The problem with using other nano techniques for fuel cells is that the platinum tends to clump up in the process reducing surface area.
But, as you can see by the photo supplied by the University of Rochester, the nanowire technology, they call electrospinning producing long, thin strands of platinum with great surface area perfect for use in fuel cells.
Using platinum may not be the perfect fuel cell solution, but using less platinum and making it highly efficient and long lasting is a step in the right direction for commercializing fuel cell vehicles.