Hydrogen powered fuel cells for automotives are one of the cleanest and most efficient technologies for generating electricity. But until now, there have been only incremental improvements in catalyst efficiency.
The discovery of a unique platinum-nickel alloy represents a breakthrough in catalyst research: it is 90 times more active than state-of-the-art platinum catalysts currently used.
REFERENCE: Science, 315, Jan (2007)
Research Team Includes :
Argonne and Berkeley National Labs,
and the University of Souch Carolina
Work performed at the Advanced Light Source and Argonne National Laboratory.
A New Platinum Catalyst
In standard Pt catalysts (top) absorption of oxygen on the surface is hindered by the binding of other molecules, such as OH. In the new material (bottom) The nickel atoms change the surface properties such that OH cannot bind as well, leaving room for oxygen.