Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists Create More Efficient Palladium Fuel Cell Catalysts

Date:
March 26, 2009
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Chemists have overcome a challenge to fuel cell reactions using palladium catalysts. The scientists produced palladium nanoparticles with about 40 percent greater active surface area than commercially available palladium particles, and the nanoparticles remain intact four times longer.

A platinum alternative: Brown researchers have found a way to create a larger active surface area with palladium nanoparticles to catalyze energy-producing reactions in a fuel cell.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brown University

Even small devices need power, and much of that juice comes from fuel cells. As these devices become even smaller, the rush is on to find more efficient ways to power them.

Related Articles


In the last several years, scientists have discovered that palladium, a metal, is a strong candidate for providing that initial boost that helps fuel cells go. Palladium is far cheaper than another popular fuel cell catalyst, platinum, and it’s more abundant.

But researchers have wrestled with creating palladium nanoparticles with enough active surface area to make catalysis efficient in fuel cells while preventing particles from clumping together during the chemical processes that convert a fuel source to electricity. Two Brown University chemists have found a way to overcome those challenges.

The scientists report in the online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society that they have produced palladium nanoparticles with about 40 percent greater surface area than commercially available palladium particles. The Brown catalysts also remain intact four times longer than what’s currently available.

“This approach is very novel. It works,” said Vismadeb Mazumder, a graduate student who joined chemistry professor Shouheng Sun on the paper. “It’s two times as active, meaning you need half the energy to catalyze. And it’s four times as stable.”

Mazumder and Sun created palladium nanoparticles 4.5 nanometers in size. They attached the nanoparticles to a carbon platform at the anode end of a direct formic acid fuel cell. The researchers then did something new: They used weak binding amino ligands to keep the palladium nanoparticles separate and at the same size as they’re attached to the carbon platform. By keeping the particles separate and uniform in size, they increased the available surface area on the platform and raised the efficiency of the fuel cell reaction.

“It just works better,” Sun said.

What’s also special about the ligands is that they can be “washed” from the carbon platform without jeopardizing the integrity of the separated palladium nanoparticles. This is an important step, Mazumder emphasized, because previous attempts to remove binding ingredients have caused the particles to lose their rigid sizes and clump together, which gums up the reaction.

The Brown team said in experiments lasting 12 hours, their catalysts lost 16 percent of its surface area, compared to a 64-percent loss in surface area in commercial catalysts.

“We managed to ebb the decay of our catalyst by our approach,” said Mazumder, who is in his second year in Sun’s lab. “We made high-quality palladium nanoparticles, put them efficiently on a support, then removed them from the stabilizers efficiently without distorting catalyst quality.”

The Brown scientists now are looking at various palladium-based catalysts with enhanced activity and stability for future fuel cell applications.

“We want to make it cheaper with analogous activity,” Mazumder said.

The research was funded by the Division of Materials Research of the National Science Foundation and a Brown seed fund.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Vismadeb Mazumder and Shouheng Sun. Oleylamine-Mediated Synthesis of Pd Nanoparticles for Catalytic Formic Acid Oxidation. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 090312154913042 DOI: 10.1021/ja9004915

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Chemists Create More Efficient Palladium Fuel Cell Catalysts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319102321.htm>.
Brown University. (2009, March 26). Chemists Create More Efficient Palladium Fuel Cell Catalysts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319102321.htm
Brown University. "Chemists Create More Efficient Palladium Fuel Cell Catalysts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090319102321.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russian Pilot Recalls Successful Balloon Flight

Russian Pilot Recalls Successful Balloon Flight

AP (Feb. 1, 2015) American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev landed a helium-filled balloon four miles offshore in Baja California Sur. (Feb. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Glasses Augment Reality to Help Visually Impaired

Smart Glasses Augment Reality to Help Visually Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 1, 2015) New augmented reality smart glasses developed by researchers at Oxford University can help people with visual impairments improve their vision by providing depth-based feedback, allowing users to "see" better. Joel Flynn reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madrid’s LED Bulbs Are Street Lights That Save

Madrid’s LED Bulbs Are Street Lights That Save

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 1, 2015) Madrid swaps its street light system with LED technology in the largest urban street lighting replacement plan in the world. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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