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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nanotechnology - a key for enhancing fuel cell performance

Nanotechnology is being used to reduce the cost of catalysts used in fuel cells to produce hydrogen ions from fuel such as methanol and to improve the efficiency of membranes used in fuel cells to separate hydrogen ions from other gases such as oxygen.

Fuel cells that are currently designed for transportation need rapid start-up periods for the practicality of consumer use. This process puts a lot of strain on the traditional polymer electrolyte membranes, which decreases the life of the membrane requiring frequent replacement. Using nanotechnology, engineers have the ability to create a much more durable polymer membrane, which addresses this problem. Nanoscale polymer membranes are also much more efficient in ionic conductivity. This improves the efficiency of the system and decreases the time between replacements, which lowers costs.

Modern fuel cells have the potential to revolutionize transportation. Like battery-electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles are propelled by electric motors. But while battery electric vehicles use electricity from an external source and store it in a battery, fuel cells onboard a vehicle are electrochemical devices that convert a fuel's chemical energy directly to electrical energy with high efficiency and without combustion. These fuel cells run at relatively low temperature (<100°C) and therefore need catalysts to generate useful currents at high potential, especially at the electrode where oxygen is reduced (the cathode of the fuel.

Carbon Nanohorns provide a unique combination of strength, electrical conductivity, high surface area and open gas paths making them an ideal next generation electrode for various fuel cell applications. Nanotechnology is playing an increasing role in solving the world energy crisis. Platinum nano-particles produced and marketed under the trade name P-Mite are ideal candidates as a novel technology for low platinum automotive catalysts and for single-nanotechnology research. Lanthanum Nanoparticles, Cerium nanoparticles, Strontium Carbonate Nano-particles, Manganese Nanoparticles, Manganese Oxide Nanopowder, Nickel Oxide Nanopowder and several other nanoparticles are finding application in the development of small cost-effective Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC). And Platinum Nanoparticles are being used to develop small Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEM).

1 comment:

Tony said...

I agree that Modern fuel cells have the potential to revolutionize transportation. By the way I own a website related to software performance testing that might be useful for your visitors. Have a look!

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