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More efficient fuel-cells, thanks to a new catalyst
Date:5/5/2008

This release is available in Spanish.

Over the past decades climate change and its consequences for life on our planet have given rise to a growing scientific interest in the development of alternative energies. The fossil fuels that currently dominate our energy map are not only becoming scarce, but are moreover generating large quantities of contaminating gases. Within the field of renewable energies the scientific community is today devoting great efforts to investigating and developing fuel cells, capable of creating electrical energy from a chemical reaction between a fuel and oxygen.

For fuel cells to be a competitive option amongst alternative energies, advances in a number of fields are required, amongst these being the development of new catalysts, i.e. substances that are responsible for accelerating the chemical reaction required for electricity to be produced. It is in here that Jos E. Barrancos focused when he presented his PhD thesis, Development of new metallic materials of an amorphous nature for use in direct methanol fuel cells, at the UPV/EHU. Jos Enrique Barranco Riveros is a graduate in Chemical Sciences and is currently working as a researcher employed by the Polytechnic University School in the Basque city of Donostia-San Sebastin. His PhD was awarded excellent cum laude unanimously and was led by Dr. ngel Rodrguez Pierna of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Environment at the University School.

Methanol as an alternative

Most current research is focused on hydrogen cells the biggest advantage of which is that they do not generate contaminant gases, except water vapour as the only waste product. However, hydrogen is very expensive, both in producing it and in distributing it using traditional overland transport methods. Moreover, its energy density is less than that of methanol, meaning
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Contact: Alaitz Ochoa de Eribe
alaitzo@elhuyar.com
34-688-673-679
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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