Navigation Links
TU Delft identifies huge potential of nanocrystals in fuel cells

The addition of extremely small crystals to solid electrolyte material has the potential to considerably raise the efficiency of fuel cells. Researchers at TU Delft in the Netherlands were the first to document this accurately. Their second article on the subject in a very short time was published in the scientific journal, Advanced Functional Materials.


The researchers at the Faculty of Applied Sciences at TU Delft were concentrating their efforts on improving electrolyte materials. This is the material between two electrodes, for example in a fuel cell or a battery. The better the characteristics of the electrolyte, the better, more compactly or more efficiently the fuel cell or battery works.

Solid matter

The electrolyte is usually a liquid, but this has a number of drawbacks. The liquid has to be very well enclosed, for example, and it takes up a relatively large amount of space. "It would therefore be preferable to have an electrolyte made of solid matter," says PhD student drs. Lucas Haverkate. "Unfortunately though, that has disadvantages as well. The conductivity in solid matter is not as good as it is in a liquid."

Traffic jam on the motorway

"In a solid matter you have a network of ions, in which virtually every position in the network is taken. This makes it difficult for the charged particles (protons) to move from one electrode to another. It's a bit like a traffic jam on a motorway. What you need to do is to create free spaces in the network."


One of the ways of achieving this, and therefore of increasing conductivity in solid electrolytes, is to add nanocrystals (of seven nanometres to around fifty nanometres), of Titanium Dioxide in this case. "A characteristic of these TiO2 crystals is that they attract protons, and this creates more space in the network." The nanocrystals are mixed in the electrolyte with a solid acid (CsHSO4). This latter material 'delivers' the protons to the crystals. "The addition of the crystals appears to cause an enormous leap in the conductive capacity, up to a factor of 100," concludes Haverkate.


This remarkable achievement by TU Delft has already led to two publications in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials. Last December, Haverkate published an article on the theory behind the results. His fellow PhD student, Wing Kee Chan, is the main author of a second item that appeared in the same publication this week.

Chan focused on the experimental side of the research. "The nice thing about these two publications is that the experimental results and the theoretical underpinning strongly complement each other," says Haverkate.


Chan carried out measurements on the electrolyte material using the neutron diffraction method. This involves sending neutrons through the material. The way in which the neutrons are dispersed makes it possible to deduce certain characteristics of the material, such as the density of protons in the crystals. Haverkate: "It is the first time that measurements have been taken of solid-material electrolytes in this way, and on such a small scale. The fact that we had nuclear research technologies at the Reactor Institute Delft at our disposal was tremendously valuable."


However, the combination of TiO2 and CsHSO4 does not mark the end of the search for a suitable solid-material electrolyte. Other material combinations will be tested that may achieve better scores in the area of stability, for example. Professor Fokko Mulder, who is Haverkate's and Chan's PhD supervisor, says. "At this stage, we are more concerned about acquiring a fundamental understanding and a useful model, than the concrete issue of finding out what the most suitable material is. It is important that we identify the effect of nanocrystals, and give it a theoretical basis. I think there is great potential for these electrolytes. They also have the extra benefit of continuing to function well over a wide range of temperatures, which is of particular relevance for applying them in fuel cells."


Contact: Ineke Boneschansker
Delft University of Technology

Related biology technology :

1. Epizyme identifies novel opportunity for treatment of genetically defined human B-cell lymphomas
2. Tool identifies infection clusters; rate of T cell drop not helpful in decision to start treating HIV
3. New Industry Research Identifies "Operational Gap" in Clinical Trial Portfolio Management
4. DNA2.0 Unlocks The Secrets Of Optimized Gene Design: Company Identifies Codon Choice Design Principles for Optimal Protein Expression
5. ChemoCentryx Identifies Novel Small Molecule C5aR Antagonist
6. Magellan to Receive Frost & Sullivan 2009 North American Product Innovation Award; Three-Minute LeadCare(R) II Test Identifies Children with Lead Poisoning
7. New research identifies faster detection of viruses
8. Famed IT Investor and Director of 23andme Esther Dyson Identifies on Genetic Information as an Extremely Disruptive Force
9. Multinational deCODE Study Identifies New Link Between Inflammation and Heart Attack
10. Reportlinker Adds World Market for Molecular Diagnostics: Potential and Reality, Whats Hot and Whats Not , The
11. MDAs Augies Quest Expands Testing of Potential ALS Therapeutics With New $2 Million Grant to ALS TDI
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... IN (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... The ... newest Special Interest Group (SIG), MultiGP, also known as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent ... the last few years. Many AMA members have embraced this type of racing and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... TEL AVIV, Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. ... be held on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... & Co., Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... , election of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir ... and Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Urdorf, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... the plant and the environment are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can ... TOLEDO has developed the InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: ... Mr. Pierre Laurin , President and Chief Executive Officer ... upcoming Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference to ... 1-2, 2015. st , at 8.50am (ET) ... throughout the day. The presentation will be available live via ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:10/27/2015)... Munich, Germany , ... (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos ... so that they can be quantitatively analyzed with SMI,s ... Germany , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic ... eye tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye Tracking ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... and LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, ... , an innovator in modern authentication and a founding ... the launch of its latest version of the Nok ... organizations to use standards-based authentication that supports existing and ... Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... California , October 23, 2015 ... (SMI) announce a mobile plug and play integration of ... real-world tasks SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) present ... wearable solutions for eye tracking and physiological data registration. ... SMI Eye Tracking Glasses 2w and physiological ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):