Imperial researchers have developed a hydrogen fuel cell that uses iron instead of rare and costly platinum, enabling greater use of the technology.
Hydrogen fuel cells convert hydrogen to electricity with water vapour as the only by-product, making them an attractive green alternative for portable power, particularly for vehicles.
However, their widespread use has been hampered in part by the cost of one of the primary components. To facilitate the reaction that produces the electricity, the fuel cells rely on a catalyst made of platinum, which is expensive and scarce.
Now, a European team led by Imperial College London researchers has created a catalyst using only iron, carbon, and nitrogen -- materials that are cheap and readily available -- and shown that it can be used to operate a fuel cell at high power. Their results are published today in Nature Catalysis.
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