Labs and manufacturers across the globe are pushing forward in an effort to develop a completely clean hydrogen-powered car. Whether it’s through the plotting of more fueling stations or new vehicle prototypes, many manufactures are hoping to bring this concept into reality soon.
However, there is still one very important aspect missing – the science and technology to produce the best and most efficient hydrogen fuel cell.
In ACS Central Science, two teams have independently reported developments in this field that may be able to get us one step closer to a practical hydrogen-powered car.
ICYMI: Listen to our podcast with Subhash C. Singhal, a world-leader in fuel cell research.
The catalysts currently used to produce the proper chemical reaction for hydrogen and oxygen to create energy is currently too expensive or just demands too much energy to be efficient. For this reason, these two teams – led by Yi Cui at Sanford University, and combining the scientific prowess of James Gerken and Shannon Stahl at the University of Wisconsin, Madison – are seeking a new material that could cause the same reaction at a lower price point and higher efficiency.
Printing technologies in an atmospheric environment offer the potential for low-cost and materials-efficient alternatives for manufacturing electronics and energy devices such as luminescent displays, thin-film transistors, sensors, thin-film photovoltaics, fuel cells, capacitors, and batteries. Significant progress has been made in the area of printable functional organic and inorganic materials including conductors, semiconductors, and dielectric and luminescent materials.
These new printable functional materials have and will continue to enable exciting advances in printed electronics and energy devices. Some examples are printed amorphous oxide semiconductors, organic conductors and semiconductors, inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials, silicon, chalcogenide semiconductors, ceramics, metals, intercalation compounds, and carbon-based materials.
A special focus issue of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology was created about the publication of state-of-the-art efforts that address a variety of approaches to printable functional materials and device. This focus issue, consisting of a total of 15 papers, includes both invited and contributed papers reflecting recent achievements in printable functional materials and devices.
The topics of these papers span several key ECS technical areas, including batteries, sensors, fuel cells, carbon nanostructures and devices, electronic and photonic devices, and display materials, devices, and processing. The overall collection of this focus issue covers an impressive scope from fundamental science and engineering of printing process, ink chemistry and ink conversion processes, printed devices, and characterizations to the future outlook for printable functional materials and devices.
The video below demonstrates Printed Metal Oxide Thin-Film Transistors by J. Gorecki, K. Eyerly, C.-H. Choi, and C.-H. Chang, School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University.
Small-scale device provides easy “plug-and-play” testing of molecules and materials for artificial photosynthesis and fuel cell technologies. Image: Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis
Scientists have developed a small-scale device that can aid in the advancement of artificial photosynthesis and fuel cell technologies.
The new device provides an easy “plug-and-play” microfluidic test-bed to evaluate materials for electrochemical energy conversion systems. Researchers will now be able to test small amounts of molecules and materials before producing a full-scale device to insure new devices will provide high energy density.
As all functional components in this microfluidic test-bed can be easily exchanged, the performance of various components in the integrated system can be quickly assessed and tailored for optimization. The initial experiments and modeling were performed for water electrolysis; however, the system can be readily adapted to study proposed artificial photosynthesis and fuel cell technologies.
The researchers believe that this technology will be easily adaptable to other technologies, such as solar-fuel generators. Development of such devices may significantly accelerate due to the new ability to assess performance at an early stage.
We recently sat down with the University of Iowa’s Johna Leddy, an established researcher in electrochemical power sources and a highly respected mentor to the students of the Leddy Lab. Listen as we talk about the energy infrastructure, Dr. Leddy’s career in academia, how to make the world a better place, and more!
The modern environmental movement was born 45 years ago today. A small group of twenty-somethings with a passion for the environment rallied together to create a more earth-conscious society, establishing what has become known as Earth Day.
The original Earth Day focused primarily on the pollution issue, but this year’s Earth Day is heavily directed towards climate change and the energy infrastructure.
ECS will be offering three Short Courses at the 227th ECS Meeting this May in Chicago. Taught by industry experts, the small class size makes for an excellent opportunity for personalized instruction helping both novices and experts advance their technical expertise and knowledge.
Short Course #1 Nanotechnology for Bioenergy: Biofuels to Fuel Cells Shelley D. Minteer, Instructor
This course is perfect for those with an interest in biofuels and renewable energy. Attendees can expect to learn about the production and use of biofuels, the advances in synthetic biology that have improved biofuel production, advance sin ananotechnology that have improved electrochemical biofuel production, electrochemical uses of biofuel, and more—including fuel cells, enzmatic biofuel cells, and microbial biofuel cells. Read more.
The lab fabricated the 500-nanometer films by anodizing a cobalt film electrodeposited on a substrate. Image: Rice University
Researchers from Rice University have discovered an efficient, robust way of drawing hydrogen and oxygen from water.
The researchers have developed a new catalyst of a cobalt-based thin film, which pumps out hydrogen and oxygen to feed fuel cells.
This from Rice University:
The inexpensive, highly porous material invented by the Rice lab of chemist James Tour may have advantages as a catalyst for the production of hydrogen via water electrolysis. A single film far thinner than a hair can be used as both the anode and cathode in an electrolysis device.
The new material acts as a superhighway for ions, allowing for more powerful batteries and boosting the general efficiency of energy conversion.
Because batteries and fuel cells are limited by how fast ions can pass through the electrolyte, engineers must find a mix of electrolyte ingredients that allows for fast movement. This study proposes the answer to this in gadolinium doped ceria.
Rutgers researchers Martha Greenblatt (left) and Chalres Dismukes (right) have developed a cost-effective energy storage technology to advance sustainable energy. Image: Nick Romaneko/Rutgers University
Dan Fatton, ECS Director of Development & Membership services, spotted an article in My Central Jersey that details a potential game changer in sustainable energy.
Researchers from Rutgers University may have just found the key to advancing renewable resources and potentially growing an energy infrastructure based on sustainability.
The researchers from Rutgers’ Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department have recently developed a novel patent-pending energy storage technology grounded in electrochemical science. The new technology is said to not only be cost-effective, but also a highly efficient way to store sustainable energy for later use.
The research published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science addresses the feasibility of widespread utilization of sustainable power.
“We have developed a compound, Ni5P4 (nickel-5 phosphide-4), that has the potential to replace platinum in two types of electrochemical cells: electrolyzers that make hydrogen by splitting water through hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) powered by electrical energy, and fuel cells that make electricity from combining hydrogen and oxygen,” co-author of the study Charles Dismukes explained to My Central Jersey.