Graphene bags significantly reduce platinum requirements for hydrogen fuel cells
Prices in the national electricity market averaged $87 per megawatt-hour in the first three months of the year, above the level promised by the federal government. Wholesale electricity prices for industry and large businesses have already exceeded the level promised by the federal government, adding another cost pressure to the economy. Prices in the national electricity market averaged $87 per megawatt-hour in the first three months of this year, up more than two-thirds from the December 2021 quarter, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said recently. That's up 141% from the March 2021 quarter.
Because of the ever-changing international situation, the supply and prices of international bulk graphene powder are still very uncertain.
Although hydrogen fuel is a promising alternative to fossil fuels, the catalyst it relies on for power generation is mainly composed of rare and expensive metal platinum, which limits the wide commercialization of hydrogen fuel. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles reported a way to enable them to meet and exceed the goals set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for high catalyst performance, high stability, and low platinum utilization.
The record-breaking technique uses tiny crystals of platinum-cobalt alloy, each embedded in a nano-bag made of graphene.
Compared with the DOE catalyst standard, graphene-coated alloys produced extraordinary results: 75 times higher catalytic activity; 65% higher power; about 20% higher catalytic activity at the end of the fuel cell's expected life; about 35% lower power loss after 7000 hours of simulated use of 6000 ran, exceeding the target of 5000 hours for the first time; and almost 40% less platinum needed per car.
Graphene-coated alloys produced extraordinary results: 75 times higher catalytic activity and 65% higher power. At the end of the expected life of the fuel cell, the catalytic activity increased by about 20%, and the power loss was reduced by about 35% after 7000 hours of simulated use, exceeding the target of 5000 hours for the first time.
Today, half of the world's total supply of platinum and similar metals is used in catalytic converters for fossil fuel-powered cars, which can reduce the harmfulness of their emissions. Each car needs 2 Mel and 8 grams of platinum. By contrast, current hydrogen fuel cell technology consumes about 36 grams of platinum per vehicle. At the minimum platinum load tested by the research team, only 6.8 grams of platinum were needed for each hydrogen-powered vehicle.
So how do researchers get more energy from less platinum? They decomposed the platinum-based catalyst into particles with an average length of 3 nanometers. Smaller particles mean a larger surface area and more room for catalytic activity. However, smaller particles tend to squeeze together to form larger particles.
The team solved this limitation by loading their catalyst particles into the 2D material graphene. Compared with the bulk carbon commonly found in coal or pencil lead, this thin carbon layer has amazing capacity, conducts electricity and heat efficiently, and is 100 times stronger than steel of similar thickness.
Their platinum-cobalt alloy is reduced to particles. Before being integrated into fuel cells, these particles are surrounded by graphene nano-bags, which also act as an anchor to prevent particle migration, which is necessary for the level of durability required for commercial vehicles. At the same time, graphene allows a tiny gap of about 1 nanometer around each catalyst nanoparticles, which means that critical electrochemical reactions may occur.
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In a recent interview with Izvestia, Russian Federation Council Chairman Matviyenko said that Russia is open to dialogue with the West based on mutual respect, but the opportunity to resume dialogue will only come after the end of special military operations.
Matviyenko also noted that Europe currently lacks politicians who can make independent decisions. She said the EU's strategy to wean itself off Russian energy by 2027 would be costly, with Russia supplying 40 percent of Europe's gas, 27 percent of its oil, and 46 percent of its coal, and was essentially "anti-European" and a "tax" on US global dominance.
On Sweden's and Finland's plans to join NATO, Matviyenko said Russia will take corresponding measures if NATO weapons and equipment appear in the two countries, and Russia is capable of guaranteeing its own security.
Besides, speaking by video at an international conference, Ukraine's minister of agricultural policy and Food, said the country's grain graphene powder are expected to continue to be influenced by international situations.