HKUST Develops World’s Most Durable Hydrogen Fuel Cell to Date

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) research team has developed a new hydrogen fuel cell, which not only sets a new battery durability record, but it is also more cost-effective, helping to promote the popularity of green energy and to help in achieving the carbon neutral goal.hydrogen fuel cells, which use hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, are regarded as a cleaner source of electricity because carbon dioxide, suspended particles, and other smog and air pollutants that may cause environmental problems, are not generated during the power generating process.  Although hydrogen energy has been developed for some time, hydrogen energy generation has not been commercialized on a large scale because hydrogen fuel cells rely on electrocatalysts to generate electricity, and the catalysts are mostly made of platinum, which is expensive and scarce in production.  Scientists have been trying to find a cheap alternative to platinum, but the catalytic power generation efficiency and durability of iron, nitrogen, carbon and other substances are poor. Professor Shao Minhua from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of HKUST. (Photo by HKUST) A team led by Professor Shao Minhua from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of HKUST recently developed a new formula that could significantly reduce the amount of platinum required in catalysts by up to 80 percent.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s test standards for the durability of hydrogen fuel cells, this hydrogen fuel cell has set a new world record of battery power generation durability. Although the platinum content of the new hybrid catalyst is extremely low, the catalytic efficiency can still be maintained at 97 percent after 100,000 cycles of highly accelerated stress tests.  Current catalysts available, loose 50 percent of their efficiency after 30,000 cycles of highly accelerated stress tests.  Another test result also showed that after using the new hybrid catalyst, the hydrogen fuel cell can operate continuously for more than 200 hours, without a decline in the catalytic effect. The high efficiency of this catalyst is due to its 3 different types of active sites for catalysis, which is more than that of traditional catalysts that have only one active site, and the catalysis is 3.7 times higher than that of normal platinum catalysts.  In theory, the better the catalytic performance, the greater the power generated by the fuel cell. Shao, who is also the director of HKUST Energy Research Institute, said that to build a carbon-neutral society, it is necessary to use hydrogen fuel cells as a green energy conversion device. The application of green energy must be further strengthened in order to tackle climate crisis. He also said that he is very happy that this research result has moved his goal forward a step, and thanked the Hong Kong government’s support of the Green Tech Fund, so that the team can continue to optimize the catalyst and it can be used in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and other electrochemical energy products. This research was supported by the funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. The relevant research content was recently published in the journal Nature Catalysis.  Follow

HKUST Develops World’s Most Durable Hydrogen Fuel Cell to Date

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) research team has developed a new hydrogen fuel cell, which not only sets a new battery durability record, but it is also more cost-effective, helping to promote the popularity of green energy and to help in achieving the carbon neutral goal.

hydrogen fuel cells, which use hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, are regarded as a cleaner source of electricity because carbon dioxide, suspended particles, and other smog and air pollutants that may cause environmental problems, are not generated during the power generating process. 

Although hydrogen energy has been developed for some time, hydrogen energy generation has not been commercialized on a large scale because hydrogen fuel cells rely on electrocatalysts to generate electricity, and the catalysts are mostly made of platinum, which is expensive and scarce in production. 

Scientists have been trying to find a cheap alternative to platinum, but the catalytic power generation efficiency and durability of iron, nitrogen, carbon and other substances are poor.

Epoch Times Photo
Professor Shao Minhua from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of HKUST. (Photo by HKUST)

A team led by Professor Shao Minhua from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of HKUST recently developed a new formula that could significantly reduce the amount of platinum required in catalysts by up to 80 percent. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s test standards for the durability of hydrogen fuel cells, this hydrogen fuel cell has set a new world record of battery power generation durability.

Although the platinum content of the new hybrid catalyst is extremely low, the catalytic efficiency can still be maintained at 97 percent after 100,000 cycles of highly accelerated stress tests. 

Current catalysts available, loose 50 percent of their efficiency after 30,000 cycles of highly accelerated stress tests. 

Another test result also showed that after using the new hybrid catalyst, the hydrogen fuel cell can operate continuously for more than 200 hours, without a decline in the catalytic effect.

The high efficiency of this catalyst is due to its 3 different types of active sites for catalysis, which is more than that of traditional catalysts that have only one active site, and the catalysis is 3.7 times higher than that of normal platinum catalysts. 

In theory, the better the catalytic performance, the greater the power generated by the fuel cell.

Shao, who is also the director of HKUST Energy Research Institute, said that to build a carbon-neutral society, it is necessary to use hydrogen fuel cells as a green energy conversion device. The application of green energy must be further strengthened in order to tackle climate crisis.

He also said that he is very happy that this research result has moved his goal forward a step, and thanked the Hong Kong government’s support of the Green Tech Fund, so that the team can continue to optimize the catalyst and it can be used in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and other electrochemical energy products.

This research was supported by the funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. The relevant research content was recently published in the journal Nature Catalysis

Liane Lau

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