Navigation Links
US and Canadian researchers drive towards cheaper fuel cells for electric cars
Date:6/18/2013

WATERLOO, Ont. (Monday, June 17, 2013) A million electric cars could be on roads across North America before the end of the decade with the help of research by the United States Department of Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Waterloo.

Professor Zhongwei Chen is part of a team led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory looking to develop non-precious materials to replace the expensive platinum catalysts in fuel cells.

"One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of fuel cells in vehicles is the cost of the units. The pure platinum needed for the catalysts in the cells contributes about 40 per cent of the total cost," said Professor Chen, of Waterloo's Faculty of Engineering. "Platinum is so expensive, and is obviously a limited resource, we have to find a way to replace it if fuel cell cars are going to succeed."

An average fuel cell car requires about 30 grams of pure platinum to produce enough power to make them run and will last for around 150,000 kilometres. That amount of platinum is around $4,000 at current prices.

"Here at Waterloo we are using nanotechnology to create advanced non-precious alternatives for platinum that are a fraction of the cost of platinum and yet provide comparable durability," said Professor Chen who is also a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. "If we can find a suitable alternative to platinum, it could help pave the way for the motor industry to adopt hydrogen fuel cells for more than a million new vehicles by the end of the decade."

Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce dependence on oil for transportation and lower pollution levels as they produce no greenhouse gases from their exhaust. However, the vehicles are currently too expensive and not durable enough to compete with conventional cars or hybrids.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that platinum-based catalysts need to use roughly four times less platinum than is used in current fuel cell designs in order to represent a realistic alternative to internal combustion engines. Eliminating the platinum completely, which is the target of Professor Chen's research, would be a major accomplishment.

Uniquely for a Canadian institution, the research is supported by a three-year grant of $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. Other members of the team led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory are Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Rochester and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with industrial partners - IRD Fuel Cells Inc. and General Motors Corporation.

"The Department of Energy Hydrogen Program supports research and development that has substantially improved the state-of-the-art in fuel cell technology, especially with technical challenges to fuel cells," said Professor Chen.

The partnership also allows Waterloo graduate students to get involved with Los Alamos, one of the leading research institutions in the world. PhD student Drew Higgins will be the first student based out of Los Alamos from this coming January.

"It's very difficult for non-American institutions to be directly involved in U.S. Department of Energy funded projects and be provided the valuable opportunity to collaborate with the Los Alamos National Laboratory," said Higgins. "There's so much focus on this technology by researchers in America, Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea and China. It's thrilling to get the opportunity to work with world-leading experts as we try to find ways to make fuel cells a viable option for the auto industry in the near future."


'/>"/>

Contact: Nick Manning
nmanning@uwaterloo.ca
519-888-4451
University of Waterloo
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. P&P Optica Invited to Cambridge Innovation Centre for the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program, One of Eight Canadian Life Science Companies Chosen to Participate
2. Seven Outstanding Doctors Receive Honors From The United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology
3. Bion Announces Approval of New Canadian Patent
4. Ampio Pharmaceuticals Awarded Canadian Composition of Matter Patent That Strengthens IP Protection for Its Key Drug Ampion™
5. UCSB researchers identify the mechanisms underlying salt-mediated behaviors in fruit flies
6. UC Irvine researchers unveil AsterixDB for Big Data management
7. Spanish researchers writing in cell describe the 9 hallmarks of aging
8. Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc.s new Diabetes Prevention & Management Panel incorporates discovery from Metabolon researchers
9. Researchers identify signals that direct the immune system to reject a transplanted organ
10. Top Genetic and Cellular Researchers Honored at ASGCT 16th Annual Meeting
11. Pioneering Researchers Recognized for Scientific Achievements in Gene and Cell Therapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers ... 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional ... spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, ... second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical ... eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits ... the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has ... to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016 On Monday, the Department ... industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. ... and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to ... the United States , in order ... defeat imposters. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM ... an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to ... ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that ... be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):