Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ENERGY TECH
More durable, less expensive fuel cells
by Staff Writers
Newark DE (SPX) Sep 13, 2017


A team of UD engineering faculty members and department leaders brought their research groups together for a fuel cell innovation. This illustration includes Professors Ajay K. Prasad, Suresh G. Advani, Dionisios Vlachos and Yushan Yan.

A team of engineers at the University of Delaware has developed a technology that could make fuel cells cheaper and more durable, a breakthrough that could speed up the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles.

They describe their results in a paper published in Nature Communications on Monday, Sept. 4.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cells are a green alternative to internal combustion engines because they produce power through electrochemical reactions, leaving no pollution behind.

Materials called catalysts spur these electrochemical reactions. Platinum is the most common catalyst in the type of fuel cells used in vehicles.

However, platinum is expensive - as anyone who's shopped for jewelry knows. The metal costs around $30,000 per kilogram.

Instead, the UD team made a catalyst of tungsten carbide, which goes for around $150 per kilogram. They produced tungsten carbide nanoparticles in a novel way, much smaller and more scalable than previous methods.

"The material is typically made at very high temperatures, about 1,500 Celsius, and at these temperatures, it grows big and has little surface area for chemistry to take place on," said Dionisios Vlachos, director of UD's Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation.. "Our approach is one of the first to make nanoscale material of high surface area that can be commercially relevant for catalysis."

The researchers made tungsten carbide nanoparticles using a series of steps including hydrothermal treatment, separation, reduction, carburization and more.

"We can isolate the individual tungsten carbide nanoparticles during the process and make a very uniform distribution of particle size," said Weiqing Zheng, a research associate at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation.

Next, the researchers incorporated the tungsten carbide nanoparticles into the membrane of a fuel cell. Automotive fuel cells, known as proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), contain a polymeric membrane. This membrane separates the cathode from the anode, which splits hydrogen (H2) into ions (protons) and delivers them to the cathode, which puts out current.

The plastic-like membrane wears down over time, especially if it undergoes too many wet/dry cycles, which can happen easily as water and heat are produced during the electrochemical reactions in fuel cells.

When tungsten carbide is incorporated into the fuel cell membrane, it humidifies the membrane at a level that optimizes performance.

"The tungsten carbide catalyst improves the water management of fuel cells and reduces the burden of the humidification system," said Liang Wang, an associate scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The team also found that tungsten carbide captures damaging free radicals before they can degrade the fuel cell membrane. As a result, membranes with tungsten carbide nanoparticles last longer than traditional ones.

"The low-cost catalyst we have developed can be incorporated within the membrane to improve performance and power density," said . "As a result, the physical size of the fuel cell stack can be reduced for the same power, making it lighter and cheaper. Furthermore, our catalyst is able to deliver higher performance without sacrificing durability, which is a big improvement over similar efforts by other groups."

The UD research team used innovative methods to test the durability of a fuel cell made with tungsten carbide. They used a scanning electron microscope and focused ion beam to obtain thin-slice images of the membrane, which they analyzed with software, rebuilding the three-dimensional structure of the membranes to determine fuel cell longevity.

The group has applied for a patent and hopes to commercialize their technology.

"This is a very good example of how different groups across departments can collaborate," Zheng said.

ENERGY TECH
A revolution in lithium-ion batteries is becoming more realistic
Kracrow, Poland (SPX) Sep 13, 2017
The modern world relies on portable electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras or camcorders. Many of these devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which could be smaller, lighter, safer and more efficient if the liquid electrolytes they contain were replaced by solids. A promising candidate for a solid-state electrolyte is a new class of materials based on lithium c ... read more

Related Links
University of Delaware
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

ENERGY TECH
NASA's Robotic 'Sniffer' Confirms Space Station Leak, Repair

Crewed Missions Beyond LEO

Tech dreams live or die on startup battlefields

Diet tracker in space

ENERGY TECH
Mechanisms are Critical to Space Vehicle Flight Success

ISRO to resume satellite launches by December

Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific With NASA Science Experiments

Rocket fever launches UB students to engineering competition in New Mexico

ENERGY TECH
Ice mined on Mars could provide water for humans exploring space

Six emerge from 8-mo Mars experiment in Hawaii dome

Splashdown! Crashing into Martian mud

More evidence of water on Mars

ENERGY TECH
Work on China's mission to Mars 'well underway'

Chinese company eyes development of reusable launch vehicle

Spacecraft passes docking test

China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

ENERGY TECH
Northrop Grumman to buy space firm Orbital for $9.2 bn

India, Japan Set to Boost Space Cooperation

Bids for government funding prove strong interest in LaunchUK

Blue Sky Network Reaffirms Commitment to Brazilian Market

ENERGY TECH
Dormant, Yet Always-Alert Sensor Awakes Only in the Presence of a Signal of Interest

Air Force activates new satellites for tracking space objects

Low-level radiation exposure less harmful to health than other modern lifestyle risks

Space radiation is risky business for the human body

ENERGY TECH
NASA's Hubble captures blistering pitch-black planet

The return of the comet-like exoplanet

Scientists propose new concept of terrestrial planet formation

KFU astronomers discovered an exoplanet together with Turkish and Japanese colleagues

ENERGY TECH
Pluto features given first official names

Hibernation Over, New Horizons Continues Kuiper Belt Cruise

Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery

New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement