(Press-News.org) Hydrogen fuel cells, like those found in some "green" vehicles, have a lot of promise as an alternative fuel source, but making them practical on a large scale requires them to be more efficient and cost effective.
A research team from the University of Central Florida may have found a way around both hurdles.
The majority of hydrogen fuel cells use catalysts made of a rare and expensive metal – platinum. There are few alternatives because most elements can't endure the fuel cell's highly acidic solvents present in the reaction that converts hydrogen's chemical energy into electrical power. Only four elements can resist the corrosive process – platinum, iridium, gold and palladium. The first two are rare and expensive, which makes them impractical for large-scale use. The other two don't do well with the chemical reaction.
UCF Professor Sergey Stolbov and postdoctoral research associate Marisol Alcántara Ortigoza focused on making gold and palladium better suited for the reaction.
They created a sandwich-like structure that layers cheaper and more abundant elements with gold and palladium and other elements to make it more effective.
The outer monoatomic layer (the top of the sandwich) is either palladium or gold. Below it is a layer that works to enhance the energy conversion rate but also acts to protect the catalyst from the acidic environment. These two layers reside on the bottom slice of the sandwich -- an inexpensive substrate (tungsten), which also plays a role in the stability of the catalyst.
"We are very encouraged by our first attempts that suggest that we can create two cost-effective and highly active palladium- and gold-based catalysts –for hydrogen fuel cells, a clean and renewable energy source," Stolbov said.
Stolbov's work was recently published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
By creating these structures, more energy is converted, and because the more expensive and rare metals are not used, the cost could be significantly less.
Stolbov said experiments are needed to test their predictions, but he says the approach is quite reliable. He's already working with a group within the U.S. Department of Energy to determine whether the results can be duplicated and have potential for large-scale application.
If a way could be found to make hydrogen fuel cells practical and cost effective, vehicles that run on gasoline and contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer could become a thing of the past.
Stolbov joined UCF's physics department in 2006. Before that he was a research assistant professor at Kansas State University. He earned multiple degrees in physics from Rostov State University in Russia and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. He is a frequent international speaker and has written dozens of articles on physics.
UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 58,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information visit http://news.ucf.edu
Researchers create more efficient hydrogen fuel cells
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
Money Off Mother's Day Fashions and Flowers Thanks to New DiscountVouchers.co.uk Vouchers
New deals sourced this week by money-saving codes website DiscountVouchers.co.uk can help the country's shoppers save on great last-minute gift ideas for Mother's Day. Consumers can log on right now and save themselves money at leading retailers such as Interflora, White Stuff and Boden. Money off clothing and accessories can help children of all ages to afford more for Mum this Mother's Day, with this week's DiscountVouchers.co.uk deals including top store White Stuff. The retailer is available on a budget thanks to new White Stuff deals such as Save Up To 50% in the ...
Research uncovers genetic marker that could help control, eliminate PRRS virus
MANHATTAN, KAN. -- A collaborative discovery involving Kansas State University researchers may improve animal health and save the U.S. pork industry millions of dollars each year. Raymond "Bob" Rowland, a virologist and professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, was part of the collaborative effort that discovered a genetic marker that identifies pigs with reduced susceptibility to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS. This virus costs the U.S. pork industry more than $600 million each year. "This discovery is what you call a first-first," ...
Very few low-income moms meet breastfeeding recommendations
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Less than 2 percent of low-income mothers met breastfeeding recommendations in a recent study – a drastic decline compared with a more affluent population – and a lack of support and available resources appears to play a key role. The research findings out of Michigan State University suggest in addition to raising overall awareness of breastfeeding, especially among women of lower socioeconomic status, physicians can play a role in removing barriers that prevent new mothers from breastfeeding. The study, performed by College of Osteopathic Medicine ...
Children exposed to cigarette smoke have increased risk of COPD in adulthood
A new study published in the journal Respirology reveals that children who are exposed to passive smoke have almost double the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adulthood compared with non-exposed children. At Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, researchers examined patients with COPD (433) and control subjects (325) who participated in the Bergen COPD Cohort Study during 2006-2009. Ane Johannessen, PhD, and co-workers assessed risk factors for COPD and analyzed by gender. Results found that exposure to passive smoke when ...
Moderate drinking associated with lower risk of stroke in women
Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption has been consistently associated with lower risk of heart disease, but data for stroke are less certain, especially among women. A total of 83,578 female participants of the Nurses' Health Study who were free of diagnosed cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline were followed-up from 1980 to 2006. Data on self-reported alcohol consumption were assessed at baseline and updated approximately every 4 years, whereas stroke and potential confounder data were updated at baseline and biennially. Strokes were classified according to ...
Most Americans save only about half of their inheritances, study finds
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new national study suggests that adults who receive an inheritance save only about half of what they receive, while spending, donating or losing the rest. The results are good news for retailers, restaurant owners and people in the service industry who will receive that windfall. But it is bad news for those who are concerned about the low U.S. savings rate, said Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and research scientist at Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research. "I came into this study thinking that people would save more of their ...
Is it a peanut or a tree nut? Half of those with allergies aren't sure
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Adults and children in a recent study could correctly identify, on average, fewer than half of an assortment of the peanuts and tree nuts that are among the most common food allergens in the United States. Parents of children with peanut and tree-nut allergies did no better at identifying the samples in the survey than did parents of children without this food allergy. And only half of participants with a peanut or tree-nut allergy correctly identified all forms of the nuts to which they were allergic. The 19 samples included various nuts in and out ...
Suppressing feelings of compassion makes people feel less moral
It's normal to not always act on your sense of compassion—for example, by walking past a beggar on the street without giving them any money. Maybe you want to save your money or avoid engaging with a homeless person. But even if suppressing compassion avoids these costs, it may carry a personal cost of its own, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. After people suppress compassionate feelings, an experiment shows, they lose a bit of their commitment to morality. Normally, people assume that ...
Sex-deprived fruit flies' alcohol preference could uncover answers for human addictions
COLUMBIA, Mo. – After being deprived of sex, male fruit flies, known as Drosophila melanogaster, may turn to alcohol to fulfill a physiological demand for a reward, according to a study recently published in the journal Science. Troy Zars, an associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri and neurobiology expert, said that understanding why rejected male flies find solace in ethanol could help treat human addictions. "Identifying the molecular and genetic mechanisms controlling the demand for reward in fruit flies could potentially influence our ...
OAI Advises Auto Insurance Shoppers on the Pros and Cons of Cutting Coverage
A recent FAQ from the writers at OnlineAutoInsurance.com points out the fact that consumers can get some savings by reducing coverage or by going with the minimum liability limits required by state law, but previous premium analyses from the company show that California policyholders can actually get significant increases in coverage without having to pay proportional increases in premium. According to state law, all drivers in the state must carry California auto insurance coverage that provides for a total of at least $30,000 for bodily injuries caused by the policyholder ...