Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cheap catalyst made easy

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Catalysts made of carbon nanotubes dipped in a polymer solution equal the energy output and otherwise outperform platinum catalysts in fuel cells, a team of engineers has found.

Catalysts made of carbon nanotubes dipped in a polymer solution equal the energy output and otherwise outperform platinum catalysts in fuel cells, a team of Case Western Reserve University engineers has found.

The researchers are certain that they'll be able to boost the power output and maintain the other advantages by matching the best nanotube layout and type of polymer.

But already they've proved the simple technique can knock down one of the major roadblocks to fuel cell use: cost.

Platinum, which represents at least a quarter of the cost of fuel cells, currently sells for about $65,000 per kilogram. These researchers say their activated carbon nanotubes cost about $100 per kilogram.

Their work is published in the online edition of Journal of the American Chemical Society.

"This is a breakthrough," said Liming Dai, a professor of chemical engineering and the research team leader.

Dai and research associates Shuangyin Wang and Dingshan Yu found that by simply soaking carbon nanotubes in a water solution of the polymer polydiallyldimethylammoniumn chloride for a couple of hours, the polymer coats the nanotube surface and pulls an electron partially from the carbon, creating a net positive charge.

They placed the nanotubes on the cathode of an alkaline fuel cell. There, the charged material acts as a catalyst for the oxygen-reduction reaction that produces electricity while electrochemically combining hydrogen and oxygen.

In testing, the fuel cell produced as much power as an identical cell using a platinum catalyst.

But the activated nanotubes last longer and are more stable, the researchers said. Unlike platinum, the carbon-based catalyst: doesn't lose catalytic activity and, therefore, efficiency, over time; isn't fouled by carbon monooxide poising; and is free from the crossover effect with methanol. Methanol, a liquid fuel that's easier to store and transport than hydrogen, reduces activity of a platinum catalyst when the fuel crosses over from the anode to the cathode in a fuel cell.

The new process builds on the Dai lab's earlier work using nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes as a catalyst. In that process, nitrogen, which was chemically bonded to the carbon, pulled electron partially from the carbon to create a charge. Testing showed the doped tubes tripled the energy output of platinum.

Dai said the new process is far simpler and cheaper than using nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes and he's confident his lab will increase the energy output as well. "We have not optimized the system yet."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Shuangyin Wang, Dingshan Yu, Liming Dai. Polyelectrolyte Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes as Efficient Metal-free Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011; 110317101957076 DOI: 10.1021/ja1112904

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Cheap catalyst made easy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322151252.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2011, March 22). Cheap catalyst made easy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322151252.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Cheap catalyst made easy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322151252.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
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