Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology
Silver Substitutes for Expensive Metals
(USAGOLD – 11/29/2023) Gold prices have retreated from their overnight peaks above $2,050 per ounce, responding to unexpectedly robust economic activity in the third quarter. Gold is trading at $2,039.32, down $1.65. Silver is trading at $25.03, up 1 cent. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory reported a significant advancement in making hydrogen fuel cells more affordable and practical earlier this month. Researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, and the Toyota Research Institute, in collaboration with Technion Israel Institute of Technology, have developed a new approach to fuel cell catalysts. They have successfully reduced the reliance on expensive platinum group metals (PGM) by partially substituting them with silver. This substitution not only lowers the cost but maintains the effectiveness of the fuel cells.
The key innovation lies in simplifying the catalyst’s application onto the cell’s electrodes. Traditionally, the catalyst is mixed into a liquid and spread onto the electrode, a process sensitive to varying lab conditions and challenging to replicate in real-world applications. The SLAC team overcame this by using a vacuum chamber for more controlled catalyst depositions. This method, tested and validated in practical fuel cell applications by Technion, ensures reproducibility and direct applicability to full-scale fuel cells. The partnership’s success in creating a cost-effective, efficient fuel cell opens new possibilities for future research, including the potential to develop entirely PGM-free catalysts. This advancement is crucial for the viability of fuel cells in heavy-duty transportation and clean energy storage, contingent on the continued reduction of manufacturing costs.
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