Carbon Nanotubes May Replace Platinum Fuel Cell Catalysts

The carbon nanotube-based device produces four times as much electric current as it would using platinum.

Published: 07-Feb-2009

Fuel cells have been hailed as saviours of the environment, because they can cleanly and efficiently turn hydrogen and other fuels into electricity. But so far this technology has been hobbled by the high cost of the platinum catalysts needed to make it work.

Now a new type of fuel cell based on carbon nanotubes promises to be much cheaper, as well as more compact and more efficient.

A team led by Liming Dai of the University of Dayton, Ohio, has discovered that a bundle of nanotubes doped with nitrogen can act as the catalyst, helping oxygen to react inside the fuel cell.

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