Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > More efficient all-organic catalysts in fuel cells

121003_organisk_katalysator
121003_organisk_katalysator

Abstract:
Organic catalysts are a breakthrough in the quest for inexpensive and efficient materials for environmentally friendly production of energy in fuel cells. A new study by physicists at Umeå University in Sweden, published in ACS Nano, provides better knowledge about key processes in producing these catalysts.

More efficient all-organic catalysts in fuel cells

Stockholm, Sweden | Posted on October 7th, 2012

The world's needs for energy and raw materials are constantly growing, and the search for readily accessible and inexpensive material for energy applications is driving research teams all around the world. Fuel cells based on hydrogen and oxygen, for example, can convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy in an environmentally friendly way, as the byproduct is simply water. For this conversion to occur efficiently, the electrodes in the fuel cells contain various forms of catalysts.

A major problem with these catalysts is that they are currently being made of alloys of platinum, ruthenium, and other noble metals. These noble metals are not only extremely expensive but also rare and difficult to extract. The pressure to find other more readily available catalysts is therefore very strong, and hence a report in Science about three years ago that an all-organic catalyst based on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes could catalyze the splitting of oxygen just as effectively as platinum, evidently drew a great deal of attention.

Since then research in this field has been intensive, but yet many questions remain regarding the mechanism and efficiency of catalytic processes that occur at the defects where nitrogen atoms have replaced carbon atoms in the carbon nanotubes. A normal "ideal" carbon nanotube consists entirely of carbon atoms, but in practice most materials have defects. For example, it may be that an atom is missing at a site where it normally should be found, or that a carbon atom has been replaced by a foreign atom.

"In our case we deliberately created defects in the carbon nanotubes by replacing some of the carbon atoms with nitrogen atoms. We did this to create local centers around these defects that have an increased electron density. The increase in electron density leads to the desired catalytic properties," says Thomas Wågberg, associate professor at the Department of Physics.

The study shows that the catalytic effect is much larger around certain types of nitrogen defects than around other types.

"We also show that it's possible to use simple heat treatment to convert inefficient nitrogen defects into highly efficient defects," says Thomas Wågberg.

Similar materials that the research group is studying also show great potential to catalyze other processes, such as the reverse process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen, which is referred to as artificial photosynthesis.

Behind the study is a research team at the Department of Physics, directed by Associate Professor Thomas Wågberg and including Tiva Sharifi, Dr. Guangzhi Hu, and Dr. Xueen Jia, with funding from, among others, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, ÅForsk (Ångpanneföreningen's Foundation for Research and Development), and the Kempe Foundation.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ingrid Söderbergh
Umeå University
+46 90-786 60 24


For more information, please contact:
Thomas Wågberg
Department of Physics
Umeå University
Telephone: +46(0)90-786 59 93

Copyright © AlphaGalileo

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

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Chemistry

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility: Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again - a curious phenomenon in science - says research by the University of Wa February 22nd, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Nano-level lubricant tuning improves material for electronic devices and surface coatings February 11th, 2017

Scientists determine precise 3-D location, identity of all 23,000 atoms in a nanoparticle: Berkeley Lab researchers help to map iron-platinum particle in unprecedented detail February 6th, 2017

Discoveries

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

New nano approach could cut dose of leading HIV treatment in half February 24th, 2017

Atom-scale oxidation mechanism of nanoparticles helps develop anti-corrosion materials February 24th, 2017

Atomic force imaging used to study nematodes: KFU bionanotechnology lab (head - Dr. Rawil Fakhrullin) has obtained 3-D images of nematodes' cuticles February 23rd, 2017

Energy

Sandia use confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance: Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage February 25th, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Fuel Cells

Scientists boost catalytic activity for key chemical reaction in fuel cells: New platinum-based catalysts with tensile surface strain could improve fuel cell efficiency December 19th, 2016

It's basic: Alternative fuel cell technology reduces cost: Study sets performance targets for metal-free fuel cell membrane December 13th, 2016

Keeping electric car design on the right road: A closer look at the life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells December 9th, 2016

Water vapor sets some oxides aflutter: Newly discovered phenomenon could affect materials in batteries and water-splitting devices October 3rd, 2016

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project