Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fuel cells get up to speed with a new kind of platinum

A new form of platinum has been made that may be able to create cheaper, more efficient fuel cells. This process may be able to create a broader use of these devices, which create emissions-free energy using hydrogen. Fuel cells have always been a possibility for an energy source since their inception over a hundred years ago, but require such extreme amounts of platinum, their cost would sky rocket. With these changes made in the platinum, the requirement need for the cells has been reduced by 80 percent, with another 10 percent being hoped for. Fuel cells work a lot like batteries, but with hydrogen and oxygen. This plan to create a more efficient form of platinum started in 2005, by University of Houston researcher Peter Strasser. Peter Strasser and his colleagues approached this through a process called dealloying, by combining copper with the platinum to make it more reactive. The next step will be putting the platinum alloy under an intensive x-ray scan to see exactly the reactions between the oxygen and platinum. It is hoped that if this form of fuel cells becomes efficient enough, gasoline engines and the batteries of small electronic devices can be replaced.


It's about time that a more efficient form of energy for cars was found, and the fact that it does not emit any harmful substances is unbelievable. Even if we weren't able to get a huge sum of money off the cost, it would be very helpful in the long run for us to use it. Platinum has no supreme source either, but if we can manage to use it, we can back off the horrible addiction to fossil fuels we have. Fossil fuels are hurting the environment, our wallets, and is depleting fairly quickly, seeing as we will not be able to get anymore anytime soon. Science now-a-days often seems fairly fairy tale-like, but this kind of change could dramatically effect our way of living.

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