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Two New Technologies May Bring Down Costs for Hydrogen Cars

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Princeton University have teamed up to improve both the cost and durability of platinum based fuel cells. And faculty and students at the University of Idaho will be using high tech X-rays to study the chemical reaction properties of rhodium and ruthenium for storing hydrogen at the nano-scale.

In regard to the fuel cell, the wear and tear on the hydrogen passing over the platinum causes the platinum to either break off or clump. PNNL and Princeton are developing a carbon support to slow down this process and lower the cost of fuel cells.

Sliced graphite or functionalized graphene sheets (FGS) were used and treated with a platinum catalyst. This arrangement showed more durability and surface area than previous methods.

And in regard to the University of Idaho (and PNNL) studying new storage methods for hydrogen may reduce the size of the tanks needed for cars. They will be using a $500,000,000 X-ray machine from the Argonne National Laboratory to study the reactions of rhodium and ruthenium with hydrogen.

According to University of Idaho professor Tom Bitterwolf, “One of the cool parts of this project is that it requires about a half-a-billion dollar light bulb. So the physics will be done with the Advanced Proton Source at Argonne. But the preparations and analytics will be done in Moscow and at PNNL.”

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