A British research team has produced graphene using a new technique to develop catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells which the researchers say is more durable than currently commercially available fuel cell catalysts.
Platinum is the favored material for fuel cell catalysts, but it’s high cost, more than $900 per Troy ounce, makes commercial-scale production unfeasible. As a workaround, catalysts are typically made placing nanoparticles of platinum onto a support made of carbon, but its low durability makes for shorter fuel cell life.
Graphene’s high conductivity, strength, and corrosion resistance make it a highly sought-after material for fuel cell catalysts, but the poor quality of much of the graphene produced has limited the improved resistance researchers have hoped for.
For the study, the team used high-quality graphene laced with platinum nanoparticles, and discovered the graphene-based catalyst stood up to stress tests up to 30% better than conventional materials. The findings could lead to better, longer-lasting fuel cells for electric vehicles.
The team, combining researchers from Queen Mary University and University College London, recently published their findings in the journal Nanoscale.