Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stainless Steel Replaces Platinum In Hydrogen Producing Microbial Electrolysis Cells

Date:
March 20, 2009
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Platinum is highly desired in jewelry and as a catalyst, but in both cases it is expensive. Now, researchers have found a way to replace the platinum catalyst in their hydrogen generating microbial electrolysis cells with stainless steel brushes without losing efficiency.

Platinum is highly desired in jewelry and as a catalyst, but in both cases it is expensive. Now, Penn State researchers have found a way to replace the platinum catalyst in their hydrogen generating microbial electrolysis cells with stainless steel brushes without losing efficiency.

"Stainless steel brush cathodes can produce hydrogen at rates and efficiencies similar to those we have achieved with platinum-catalyzed carbon cloth," says Bruce E. Logan, Kappe professor of environmental engineering.

The brushes used were made of 304 stainless steel, had a twisted stainless steel core and were manufactured on an industrial brush manufacturing machine. At an inch in length and an inch in diameter, the brushes had 48 square inches of surface area.

In order to produce hydrogen from microbial electrolysis cells that use organic materials, a small amount of electrical energy is needed. While the electrolysis cells will produce more energy than required to force the reaction, without the added energy they will not produce hydrogen. The researchers, who also include Douglas F. Call, graduate student in environmental engineering and Matthew D. Merrill, postdoctoral researcher in environmental engineering, also found that the stainless steel brush cathode needed to be placed very close to the graphite fiber brush anode for optimum effect.

At an applied voltage of 0.6 volts, the researchers produced about 5.5 amps per cubic foot using the stainless steel cathodes. This was achieved using both anode and cathode brushes cut in half and placed back to back. The researchers reported their work in a recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

"Stainless steel brushes show great promise in that they have high current densities and high energy recovery," says Logan. He notes however, "one problem might be the stainless steel brushes' tendency to trap hydrogen bubbles which decreases the active area of the brush. The trapped hydrogen also remains in the reactor longer and is therefore available to microbes that consume hydrogen."

While more stainless steel is required to manufacture the stainless steel brushes than the platinum used as a catalyst in the carbon cloth cathodes, because of the great difference in costs between platinum and stainless steel, the stainless steel brushes are five times less expensive than the platinum catalyzed cathodes.

The American Society of Engineering Education, the National Water Research Institute and the National Science Foundation funded this work.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Stainless Steel Replaces Platinum In Hydrogen Producing Microbial Electrolysis Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090313145946.htm>.
Penn State. (2009, March 20). Stainless Steel Replaces Platinum In Hydrogen Producing Microbial Electrolysis Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090313145946.htm
Penn State. "Stainless Steel Replaces Platinum In Hydrogen Producing Microbial Electrolysis Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090313145946.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. 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