August 11, 2008

Plastic-Goretex combo drives fuel cell

Coat Goretex with a thin layer of electrically conducting plastic and you get an efficient, inexpensive cathode that could make vehicle fuel cells economically viable.

The plastic draws electrons back into the fuel cell and combines them with protons and oxygen to form water -- the second half of a fuel cell's chemical process for generating electricity from hydrogen. The Goretex makes a porous scaffold for the cathode, which brings more oxygen into contact with the plastic.

The cathode is as efficient as the usual platinum-coated cathodes, but is much less expensive, widely available and isn't degraded by carbon monoxide.

Research paper:
High Rates of Oxygen Reduction over a Vapor Phase–Polymerized PEDOT Electrode
Science, August 1, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science

Related stories and briefs:
Cheap catalyst boosts solar hydrogen prospects -- an inexpensive catalyst that extracts oxygen from water

Back to ERN August 11/18, 2008



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