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New catalyst could jumpstart e-cars, green energy news

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid electric vehicles.

A high-resolution microscopic image of a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells. (Photo credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory)

In a paper appearing recently in Nature Communications, Los Alamos researchers Hoon T. Chung, Piotr Zelenay and Jong H. Won, the latter now at the Korea Basic Science Institute, describe a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon-nanotube catalyst.

The new material has the highest oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalyst developed to date. This activity is critical for efficient storage of electrical energy.

The new catalyst doesn’t use precious metals such as platinum, which is more expensive per ounce than gold, yet it performs under certain conditions as effectively as many well-known and prohibitively expensive precious-metal catalysts developed for battery and fuel-cell use.

Moreover, although the catalyst is based on nitrogen-containing carbon nanotubes, it does not require the tedious, toxic and costly processing that is usually required when converting such materials for catalytic use.
– See more at: http://www.domain-b.com/technology/20130619_green_energy.html#sthash.ODRiLk9o.dpuf
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