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A new hydrogen fuel cell has been developed by scientists at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Not only is it the world’s most durable[1] to date, but it is also more cost-effective, paving the way for a wider application of green energy in the pursuit of a carbon-neutral world.

Hydrogen fuel cells are a promising clean energy option as they efficiently generate power by converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, with zero emission of carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and other air pollutants that may cause smog and other health problems. Hydrogen fuel cells have yet to be widely commercialized, despite their environmental benefits and years of development. That is because its power generation depends heavily on an electrocatalyst — which is largely comprised of the very expensive and rare metal platinum.

Researchers have strived to develop alternatives by replacing platinum with more common and inexpensive materials like iron-nitrogen-carbon. However, those materials have either proven inefficient in power generation or have suffered from poor durability.

Now, a research team led by Prof. Minhua Shao from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at HKUST, discovered a new formula. It not only cuts down the proportion of platinum used by 80 percent, but it also set a record in terms of the cell’s durability level.

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