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The sources of alternative energy there are many and they give us the opportunity to generate clean energy without damaging the environment; however, current technology does not allow us to efficiently exploit everything we have, so clean energy is not enough. Between renewables, hydrogen is rapidly entering the scene.
L'hydrogen is an abundant element and has all the potential to power machinery, cars and electrical equipment, technological advances could transform the potential ofhydrogen in reality. In Germany, theenergy from hydrogen it has already found wide applications, associated with wind and biogas but despite the German power plant, many more progress needs to be made.
The University of Florida (UCF, University of Central Florida) seems to have found a way to make the hydrogen fuel cells more effective and efficient. The project by researchers at the University of Florida, if applied on a large scale, could see major positive implications: hydrogen-powered cars with fuel cells and many other electronic devices powered by this source of renewable energy.
Typically, the catalysts used for fuel cells they are made of platinum, the other materials are not able to resist the acid solvents present in the cells that convert chemical energy into electricity. In addition to platinum, only iridium is capable of resisting acid corrosion. Both are extremely expensive. This is where researchers from the University of Central Florida made a difference.
The hydrogen fuel cells they may have a lower cost. The team of researchers developed a multi-layered envelope. Gold and palladium are less expensive than the other elements already tested. They had been underestimated because they were less resistant to chemical reactions than Platinum or Iridium. So the researchers using a very thin monolayer of gold, they added a second layer of palladium and a third of tungsten. Tungsten is an economic element that also stabilizes the catalysts so as to improve the performance of the chemical reaction and consequently improve the energy efficiency of the hydrogen fuel cell.
The three layers maximize the conversion rate of chemical energy into electrical energy and at the same time protect the catalysts from the acid solvents present in the fuel cell. The quantities and cost of the elements used are much lower than the very expensive platinum and iridium elements. Professor Sergey Stolbov who followed the research, said that although more tests will have to be conducted before applying the discovery for commercial purposes, the approach is reliable and feasible.
The experiment brings good news for the environment which in recent times has witnessed a steady increase in pollution and is facing the exhaustion of coal-based fuel sources. The hydrogen cells they can open great implications in the market. Once this technology is optimized, gasoline cars could be turned into a distant memory.
Don't be surprised by the materials used by the latest developments on fuel cells. After all, gold is used in everyday technology, as well as in cell phones themselves!
edited by Anna De Simone