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USA/Japan: BNL electric car tech licensed to Japanese firm

A Japanese manufacturing company has licensed research conducted at Brookhaven National Laboratory just over a year ago to be used in electric cars.

N.E. Chemcat Corporation, the Japanese manufacturer of catalyst and precious metal compounds, has agreed to license a type of electrocatalyst developed by BNL scientists that drastically reduces the use of costly platinum – a major component in fuel cells for electric vehicles.

Rather than use a full platinum core, the BNL researchers were able to develop a platinum-gold alloy known as palladium to serve as the core of the fuel cell. Only the outer shell of the core, which is as small as one atom thick, would need to be fully platinum using the new method.

This palladium-platinum combination notably improves oxygen reduction at the cathode of a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell. This type of fuel cell produces electricity using hydrogen as fuel, and forms water as the only byproduct.
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