A major (and somewhat unexpected) obstacle to the hydrogen revolution is the lack of platinum in our world. Prices once peaked at over $2,000 an ounce for the stuff, and they're still up over $1,400.
A true hydrogen economy would certainly see prices spiking much higher than that, triggering invasive mining and exploration.
But the platinum is necessary as a catalyst both at the anode (splitting O2) and the cathode (splitting H2.) At least...it is for now.
Recognizing that this is a significant obstacle to the development of fuel cells, several organizations are working on replacing platinum. A team of Australian researchers has actually succeeded in replacing the cathode with a conductive polymer similar to Gore-Tex and they said they thought it might be possible to replace the anode as well
The result would be a fuel cell that is considerably cheaper, lighter and easier to manufacture than fuel cells today. While engineers at auto companies have done a good job of reducing the amount of platinum in fuel cells, completely eliminating it would be a huge boon for hydrogen vehicles and power generation.
|< Prev||Next >|