Gold Nanoparticles 'Improve Fuel Cell Performance'
Source: World Gold Council (3/30/10)
"Gold and gold-based nanoparticles. . .improve the performance of methanol fuel cells."
A team from the State University of New York-Binghampton led by Professor Chuan-Jian Zhong developed its gold and gold-platinum catalysts on carbon support materials, Nano Patents and Innovations reports.
This improved their control over the size of the particles compared to traditional synthesis techniques such as co-precipitation, deposition-precipitation and impregnation, the site noted.
Methanol fuel cells are seen as a potentially attractive mobile power source because they have a high energy density, are easily renewable and methanol itself is much simpler to store and transport than hydrogen.
However, poor activity in anode catalysts and "methanol crossover" to the cathode electrode means around one-third of their available energy is lost at the anode and the cathode.
The gold and bimetallic particles created by Professor Zhong and his team boosted the power output of the cells by improving both the methanol oxidation reaction at the anode and the oxygen reduction reaction.
In related news, gold nanocrystals were recently used by Taiwanese firm N Kung Industrial to develop car and motorcycle exhausts that convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. The system was displayed at a nanotechnology exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.