PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Platinum works well as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel cells, but it has at least two drawbacks: it is expensive, and it degrades over time. Brown University chemists have engineered a cheaper and more durable catalyst using graphene, cobalt, and cobalt-oxide — the best nonplatinum catalyst yet. Their report appears in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
Lab tests performed by Sun and his team showed that the new graphene-cobalt material was a bit slower than platinum in getting the oxygen reduction reaction started, but once the reaction was going, the new material actually reduced oxygen at a faster pace than platinum. The new catalyst also proved to be more stable, degrading much more slowly than platinum over time. After about 17 hours of testing, the graphene-cobalt catalyst was performing at around 70 percent of its initial capacity. The platinum catalyst the team tested performed at less than 60 percent after the same amount of time.
It will be interesting to see which companies pick up on this development first.
The original article was posted by Brown University.