New catalyst produces affordable hydrogen for fuel cell cars


Hydrogen for decades has been termed as the clean fuel of the future. However, we don’t usually see hydrogen fuel cell powered cars on the roads because of the high cost of extracting hydrogen from water and the large amount of energy it needs. A team of research students from the University of Mumbai in India and the University of Trento in Italy have joined forces to come up with affordable means to produce hydrogen for use in clean cars of the future.

The student team has come up with a catalyst, cobalt boride that can efficiently extract hydrogen gas from ammonia borane by hydrolysis at room temperature. The team believes that the new catalyst can replace noble and costly metals that are presently used for the same purpose. At present, hydrogen-powered cars make use of platinum, palladium or ruthenium as catalysts, which are expensive and limit the use of hydrogen cars. Cobalt boride, on the other hand, is cheap and readily available.

DNA India reports that for hydrolysis, instead of using the catalyst in powder form, the researchers have synthesized cobalt nanoparticles-embedded boron matrix catalyst film that offers better results.

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