The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) announced on Dec. 7 that it developed a hydrogen fuel cell catalyst that is capable of improving the efficiency and stability of power generation with a halved platinum content.
At present, hydrogen fuel cells are characterized by not only their high prices but also platinum catalysts, a key material that determines the efficiency of their power generation efficiency, which is vulnerable to deformation in a high-temperature environment. Countries around the world are working on improvements which will require a lower platinum content.
The IBS almost halved the content by means of a nano alloy using platinum and metallic nanoparticles. In addition, it suppressed the expansion of the materials at a high temperature by coating the nano alloy with a carbon atomic layer with a thickness of less than 1 nm and prevented catalytic combination to improve power generation efficiency by over 10 times. The institute explained that the carbon atomic layer can be obtained when the alloy is coated with dopamine and undergoes a heat treatment.
The institute applied the catalyst to a hydrogen fuel cell and found that the amount of power generation increased from 0.14 mA/g to 1.6 mA/g. “No deterioration in performance was witnessed after 10,000 times of driving, which is close to its service life, and a 3 percent deterioration was detected in 100 hours of driving when the technique was applied to a commercial fuel cell system,” it added. Details of the research are available on the online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society released on Dec. 4.