Platinum-Free Fuel Cells Eliminates Need For Expensive Catalysts

Platinum-Free Fuel Cells Eliminates Need For Expensive Catalysts 

 A new polymer, shown in powdered form, can be used to make stable fuel-cell membranes that conduct negatively charged ions.

Fuel cells are, in principle, the most efficient way to convert hydrogen fuel into electricity. But they require expensive catalysts such as platinum to split hydrogen into ions and electrical current. Cheaper metals simply can’t withstand the harsh acidic environment of the fuel cell. Now researchers in China have developed a fuel cell that uses a new membrane material to operate in alkaline conditions, eliminating the need for an expensive catalyst. The power output of the new prototype, which uses nickel as a catalyst, is still relatively low, but it provides a first demonstration of a potentially much less expensive fuel cell.

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New Chlorine-tolerant Material Could Streamline Desalination Processes

New Chlorine-tolerant Material Could Streamline Desalination Processes 

 

Getting access to drinking water is a daily challenge for more than one billion people in the world. Desalination may help relieve such water-stressed populations by filtering salt from abundant seawater, and there are more than 7,000 desalination plants worldwide, 250 operating in the United States alone. However, the membranes that these plants use to filter out salt tend to break down when exposed to an essential ingredient in the process: chlorine.

 

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