Team claims a cost-effective method for producing fuel cells

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Researchers at Aalto University in Finland claim to have developed a significantly cheaper method for manufacturing fuel cells.

The method uses a thin-film disposition technique, known as atomic layer disposition (ALD), to prepare a noble-metal nanoparticle catalyst for fuel cells.

The most commonly used fuel cells cover an anode with an expensive noble-metal powder, which reacts well with the fuel. Aalto University researchers claim that their ALD method can enable this film to be much thinner and more evenly applied than before, which can lower costs and increase quality.

The ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells is reported to require 60 per cent less of the catalyst than current methods.

The researchers are trialling their technique with alcohol fuel cells, where it is possible to use palladium as a catalyst, which is cheaper than the platinum used in conventional hydrogen fuel cells.

Docent Tanja Kallio, a researcher from Aalto University, said this is a significant discovery, because scientists have not been able to achieve savings of this magnitude before with materials that are commercially available.

The study was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.