Hydrogen fuel is one of the most promising clean and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, and cheap and efficient fuel cells and hydro-electric solutions will be the cornerstone of the hydrogen fuel economy. These devices rely on electrocatalysts, so the development of efficient and low-cost catalysts will be critical to making hydrogen fuel a viable alternative.
Researchers at the University of Alto have developed a new catalyst material to improve these techniques,media reported.
It is understood that oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen analysis reaction (OER) are the most important electrochemical reactions, which limit the efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells, hydro-electric depositions and high-capacity metal air batteries.
Athos scientists, in collaboration with cnRS in France and Vienna, Austria, have developed a new type of catalyst that drives these reactions more efficiently than other current dual-function catalysts. The electrocatalytic activity of the new catalyst will change significantly by selecting the catalyst deposition material.
“We want to replace expensive and scarce traditional catalysts based on expensive platinum and palladium with highly active, stable alternatives made up of cheap and Earth-rich elements such as transition metals, carbon and nitrogen,” said Dr. Mohamed Tavakoli, an Alto researcher who led the effort. “
The Alto team worked with CNRS to produce a highly porous graphene-carbon nanotube mixture, which was mixed with a single atom of other known elements to make a good catalyst. Graphene and carbon nanotubes are single-atom-thick 2D and 1D carbon isomorphic bodies, which have better performance than conventional materials.
It is reported that they have developed a simple and scalable way to grow these nanomaterials at the same time and combine their properties in a single product. In this process, they can also doped graphene with nitrogen or cobalt and molybdenum as a promising strategy for producing single-atom catalysts.
The Alto-CNRS team uses a simpler, one-step approach and lower costs than a competitor’s strategy to make single-atom catalysts.