Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Carbon nanotubes to cheaper make fuel cells

Image obtained from boingboing.net

Image obtained from boingboing.net

More than half the cost of fuel cells is due to the platinum catalyst which everybody uses today, making it impossible to be marketed on a large scale.

This February, Science published an article entitled “Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotube Arrays with High Electrocatalytic Activity for Oxygen Reduction”, which proposes the use of arrays of vertically grown carbon nanotubes, which dope theirselves with nitrogen as the catalyst. The way to make the electrodes is depositing carbon nanotubes arrays in a composite polymer film polymer and carbon nanotubes.

Besides its high cost, the platinum has additional problems. One is carbon monoxide that can adhere to its surface making it less effective. The other is that platinum is not very long lasting, so that their properties degrade over time. Carbon nanotubes solve these problems since they have an operational stability for long periods and do not suffer the problems associated with carbon monoxide.

This technology can make possible the use of alkaline fuel cells in the conventional vehicle market. These fuel cells are very efficient but for the time being, its use is limited to spacecraft. Nanotubes are effective in the chemical processes taking place in the alkaline fuel cells.

According to the authors, carbon nanotubes doped with nitrogen must also operate in the polymeric electrolyte membrane fuel cells, which is an option for its use in vehicles.

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. Source: Wikipedia

Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. Source: Wikipedia

 

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February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Nano News

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