A team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory have found a new catalyst material that's more active than any previous material and more durable at the same time. They devised a new platinum nickel crystal structure that is 10 times more active than straight platinum and ninety times more active than the platinum-carbon cathodes used on most fuel cells today. Although platinum is a good catalyst, hydroxide ions like to bind to the material over time. As this happens the capability of catalyzing drops and the fuel cell becomes less efficient. The new Pt3Ni material is a more efficient catalyst and at the same time is more resistant to hydroxide binding. The researchers are now going to focus on developing nanoparticle catalysts that have similar properties to the Pt3Ni material.
[Source: Berkeley Lab Research News via GreenCarCongress]

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