A Cheaper Hydrogen Catalyst

By Duncan Graham-Rowe in Technology Review, December 4 2009

Platinum normally plays a crucial role in fuel cells and in the production of hydrogen. Now a group of researchers has shown how to get the same kind of reactivity using a metal--nickel--that is a thousand times less expensive than platinum. The group-- research scientist Vincent Artero, and Alan Le Goff and Serge Palacin at the Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique near Paris--used nickel-based compounds chemically bound to carbon nanotubes.

Electrodes made using the new catalyst would be about 20 percent cheaper than those made of platinum, Artero says. Given that the platinum makes up roughly a third of the cost of fuel cells, this could have a significant impact on the price of fuel cell technology.

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