Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hybrid Cars Could Be More Reliable And Cheaper With New Fuel Cell Technology

Date:
August 3, 2008
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Scientists have revolutionized the design of fuel cells used in the latest generation of hybrid cars which could make the vehicles more reliable and cheaper to build. The breakthrough, published in the journal Science, revolves around the design of a fuel cell in which a specially-coated form of popular hi tech outdoor and sporting clothing material Goretex® is the key component.

Monash University scientists have revolutionised the design of fuel cells used in the latest generation of hybrid cars which could make the vehicles more reliable and cheaper to build.

The breakthrough, published August 1 in the journal Science, revolves around the design of a fuel cell in which a specially-coated form of popular hi tech outdoor and sporting clothing material Goretex® is the key component.

The team of Monash scientists have designed and tested an air-electrode, where a fine layer - just 0.4 of a micron thick, or about 100 times thinner than a human hair – of highly conductive plastic is deposited on the breathable fabric. The conductive plastic acts as both the fuel cell electrode and catalyst.

Monash University's Dr Bjorn Winther-Jensen said just as Goretex® had revolutionised the outdoor clothing industry, it could hold similar promise for motorists.

"The same way as waste vapour is drawn out of this material to make hikers more comfortable to less prone to hypothermia, so it is able to 'breathe' oxygen into our fuel cell and into contact with the conductive plastic," Dr Winter-Jensen said.

Monash University's Professor Doug MacFarlane from the Australian Centre for Electromaterials Science (ACES) said the discovery was probably the most important development in fuel cell technology in the last 20 years.

"The benefits for the motoring industry and for motorists are that the new design removes the need for platinum, which acts as the catalyst and is currently central to the manufacturing process," Professor MacFarlane said.

"Our reliance on platinum is making the likelihood of using fuel cells in everyday passenger cars, increasingly improbable.

"The cost of the platinum component alone of current fuel cells for a small car with a 100kW electric engine is more than the total cost of an 100kW gasoline engine. Also current annual world production of platinum is only sufficient for about 3 million 100kW vehicles, less than one-twentieth of the current annual global production of vehicles."

The new design fuel cell has been tested for periods of up to 1500 hours continuously using hydrogen as the fuel source.

Professor Maria Forsyth, Director of ACES at Monash said testing has shown no sign of material degradation or deterioration in performance. The tests also confirmed that oxygen conversion rates are comparable with platinum–catalysed electrodes of the same geometry and found electrodes are not poisoned by carbon monoxide the way platinum is.

"The small amounts of carbon monoxide that are always present in exhausts from petrol engines are a real problem for fuel cells because the platinum catalyst is slowly poisoned, eventually destroying the cell, "Professor Forsyth said.

"The important point to stress is that the team has come up with an alternative fuel cell design that is more economical, more easily sourced, outlasts platinum cells and is just as effective."

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Hybrid Cars Could Be More Reliable And Cheaper With New Fuel Cell Technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731143916.htm>.
Monash University. (2008, August 3). Hybrid Cars Could Be More Reliable And Cheaper With New Fuel Cell Technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731143916.htm
Monash University. "Hybrid Cars Could Be More Reliable And Cheaper With New Fuel Cell Technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731143916.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) — It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins