Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New nanoparticle catalyst brings fuel-cell cars closer to showroom

UW-Madison and University of Maryland researchers developed a new type of catalyst by surrounding a nanoparticle of ruthenium with one to two layers of platinum atoms. The result is a robust room-temperature catalyst that dramatically improves a key hydrogen purification reaction and leaves more hydrogen available to make energy in the fuel cell.
UW-Madison and University of Maryland researchers developed a new type of catalyst by surrounding a nanoparticle of ruthenium with one to two layers of platinum atoms. The result is a robust room-temperature catalyst that dramatically improves a key hydrogen purification reaction and leaves more hydrogen available to make energy in the fuel cell.

Abstract:
A University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Maryland (UM) team has developed a new nanotechnology-driven chemical catalyst that paves the way for more efficient hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

New nanoparticle catalyst brings fuel-cell cars closer to showroom

Madison, WI | Posted on March 19th, 2008

Writing in this week's Advance Online Publication of Nature Materials, UW-Madison chemical and biological engineering Professor Manos Mavrikakis and UM chemistry and biochemistry Professor Bryan Eichhorn describe a new type of catalyst created by surrounding a nanoparticle of ruthenium (Ru) with one to two layers of platinum (Pt) atoms. The result is a robust room-temperature catalyst that dramatically improves a key hydrogen purification reaction and leaves more hydrogen available to make energy in the fuel cell.

One day, it could be common for fuel cells to create electricity by consuming hydrogen generated from renewable resources. For now, most of the world's hydrogen supply is derived from fossil fuels in a process called reforming.

An important step in this multistage process, called preferential oxidation of CO in the presence of hydrogen (PROX), uses a catalyst to purge hydrogen of carbon monoxide (CO) before it enters the fuel cell. CO presents a major obstacle to the practical application of fuel cells because it poisons the expensive platinum catalyst that runs the fuel cell reaction.

Attractive for transportation applications and as a battery replacement, proton exchange membrane fuel cells generate electricity using porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum catalyst separated by a solid polymer. Hydrogen fuel enters one side of the cell and oxygen enters on the opposite side. Platinum facilitates the production of protons from molecular hydrogen, and these protons cross the membrane to react with oxygen on the other side. The result is electricity with water and heat as byproducts.

A conventionally constructed catalyst combining ruthenium and platinum must be heated to 70 degrees Celsius or 158 degrees Fahrenheit in order to drive the PROX reaction, but the same elements combined as core-shell nanoparticles operate at room temperature. The lower the temperature at which catalyst activates the reactants and makes the products, the more energy is saved.

"We understand why it works," Mavrikakis says. "We know now the reason behind this marvelous behavior. The first reason is the core-cell nanostructure. This polymer-based method developed by my colleagues in Maryland allows the exact amount of an element, in this case platinum, to be placed exactly where you want it to be on specific seeds of ruthenium."

This very specific nano-architecture and composition can sustain significantly less CO on its surface than pure Pt would. Because the binding is weaker, Mavrikakis says fewer sites on the core-cell nanostructure are available to bind with CO than would occur with Pt alone. That leaves empty sites for oxygen to come in and react.

"The second reason is that there is a completely new reaction mechanism that makes this work so well," he says. "We call it hydrogen-assisted CO oxidation. It uses atomic hydrogen to attack molecular oxygen and make a hydroperoxy intermediate, which in turn, easily produces atomic oxygen. Then, atomic oxygen selectively attacks CO to produce CO2, leaving much more molecular hydrogen free to be fed to the fuel cell than pure Pt does."

While the breakthrough is important to the development of fuel-cell technology, the researchers say it's even more significant to catalysis in general.

First, the team, including graduate students Anand Nilekar of UW-Madison and Selim Alayoglu of Maryland, used theory rather than an experimental approach to zero in on ruthenium/platinum as the ideal core shell system.

Second, the nanoscale fabrication of ruthenium and platinum resulted in a different nano-architecture than when ruthenium and platinum are combined in bulk. For the field of catalysis, the pairing of these approaches could bridge the gap between surface science and catalysis opening new paths to novel and more energy-efficient materials discovery for a variety of industrially important chemical processes.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Terry Devitt
science
(608) 262-8282

Copyright © University of Wisconsin-Madison

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Sirrus's Issued Patent Portfolio Continues To Accelerate July 18th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Tuning into quantum: Scientists unlock signal frequency control of precision atom qubits July 16th, 2018

Discoveries

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Tuning into quantum: Scientists unlock signal frequency control of precision atom qubits July 16th, 2018

UMBC researchers develop nanoparticles to reduce internal bleeding caused by blast trauma July 13th, 2018

Announcements

Sirrus's Issued Patent Portfolio Continues To Accelerate July 18th, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier: Rice U., Northwestern researchers make and test atom-thick boron's unique domains July 17th, 2018

Tuning into quantum: Scientists unlock signal frequency control of precision atom qubits July 16th, 2018

Energy

NIST Researchers Simulate Simple Logic for Nanofluidic Computing June 30th, 2018

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

Tripling the Energy Storage of Lithium-Ion Batteries: Scientists have synthesized a new cathode material from iron fluoride that surpasses the capacity limits of traditional lithium-ion batteries June 14th, 2018

Automotive/Transportation

Leti and Oscaro Partner on Leti’s New Low-Power, Low-Cost Transceiver to Track Parcels July 12th, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Surpasses $2 Billion in Design Win Revenue on 22FDX® Technology : With 50 client designs and growing, 22FDX proves its value as a cost-effective solution for power-sensitive applications July 9th, 2018

Leti & Partners Launch Pilot Program to Assess New Perception Sensors for Autonomous Vehicles July 5th, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Deliver Socionext’s Next Generation Graphics Controller for Advanced In-Vehicle Display Applications: 55nm LPx platform, with SST’s highly reliable embedded SuperFlash®, enables enhanced features and security protection for remote display applications June 28th, 2018

Fuel Cells

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis May 3rd, 2018

A new way to find better battery materials: Design principles could point to better electrolytes for next-generation lithium batteries March 29th, 2018

Rice sleuths find metal in 'metal-free' catalysts: Study of graphene catalysts finds trace of manganese, suggests better ultrathin fuel-cell components February 26th, 2018

Study boosts hope for cheaper fuel cells: Rice University researchers show how to optimize nanomaterials for fuel-cell cathodes January 6th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project