Platinum-free catalysts could make cheaper hydrogen fuel cells

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed platinum-free fuel cell catalysts that can be used for cheaper hydrogen fuel cell production.

Commercially available hydrogen fuel cells currently rely on the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), which splits oxygen molecules into oxygen ions and combines then with protons to form water.

The reaction is part of the overall fuel cell process that coverts hydrogen and oxygen in air into water and electricity. The ORR is a relatively slow reaction, limiting fuel cell efficiency and requiring a large amount of platinum catalyst.

“Currently, the oxygen reduction reaction is facilitated by platinum alloy catalysts, which are the most expensive component of the fuel cell electrodes,” said Deborah Myers, Senior Chemist and Leader of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Materials group.

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