The researchers’ aim was to develop a material to replace the expensive Pt-based catalyst currently used in many electrochemical systems. While other researchers have previously attempted the same feat, the results typically showed low stability levels.
This from Texas A&M University:
[The team has] developed a new low-cost and scalable method to synthesize 3-D sponge-like carbon nanotubes, which are self-standing and highly porous. After post-treatment, striking catalytic activity and stability are found to be comparable to or better than those of Pt-based catalysts in both acidic and basic environments.
The researchers believe that these results could allow the commercialization of current lab-based electrochemical cells due and potentially lower the price of commercial fuel cell stacks.