Cheaper Alternative to Platinum Catalyst Used in Microbial Fuel Cells

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have developed nitrogen-enriched iron-carbon nanorods, which can be used as a low-cost alternative to platinum catalysts used in microbial fuel cells (MFCs).

Zhen (Jason) He, assistant professor of civil engineering (left), and Junhong Chen, professor of mechanical engineering, display a strip of carbon that contains the novel nanorod catalyst material they developed for microbial fuel cells. (credit: Troye Fox)

With equivalent efficiency and 5% of the cost of a platinum catalyst, the novel material paves the way to develop more economical storage and energy conversion devices. The nitrogen-enriched iron-carbon nanorods, developed by UWM Professor Junhong Chen, show promise to substitute the platinum catalyst in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) that produce hydrogen.

Chen together with Assistant Professor Zhen (Jason) He is carrying out tests on the nanorods. The researchers discovered that the nanorod catalyst demonstrated a performance better than a graphene-based catalyst. Moreover, the nanorod catalyst consistently outperformed two other potential substitutes for platinum over a period of six months.

According to Chen, the nanorods have demonstrated scalability and stability. However, more research is required to find the method of mass-production of the novel material and to identify the cause for its superior performance. The study results have been reported in the Advanced Materials journal.

The nanorod catalyst consists of nitrogen affixed to the carbon rod surface and an iron carbide core. It is a known fact that a carbon catalyst’s efficiency can be improved by nitrogen. Iron carbide, which also demonstrates better catalytic functionalities, interplays with the carbon on the surface of the rod, thus communicating with the core. Moreover, the material’s novel structure is favorable for electron transport, which is crucial for oxygen reduction reaction.

The nitrogen-enriched iron-carbon nanorod catalyst outperformed graphene-based catalyst material in MECs; however, its efficiency is lower than that of the platinum catalyst. He commented that this result demonstrates that the nanorods hold potential for more different applications than graphene and provides evidence to the difference in performance of the nanorods in MECs.

Source: http://www.uwm.edu/

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Gilbert, Nick. (2019, March 01). Cheaper Alternative to Platinum Catalyst Used in Microbial Fuel Cells. AZoCleantech. Retrieved on May 19, 2024 from https://www.azocleantech.com/news.aspx?newsID=16913.

  • MLA

    Gilbert, Nick. "Cheaper Alternative to Platinum Catalyst Used in Microbial Fuel Cells". AZoCleantech. 19 May 2024. <https://www.azocleantech.com/news.aspx?newsID=16913>.

  • Chicago

    Gilbert, Nick. "Cheaper Alternative to Platinum Catalyst Used in Microbial Fuel Cells". AZoCleantech. https://www.azocleantech.com/news.aspx?newsID=16913. (accessed May 19, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Gilbert, Nick. 2019. Cheaper Alternative to Platinum Catalyst Used in Microbial Fuel Cells. AZoCleantech, viewed 19 May 2024, https://www.azocleantech.com/news.aspx?newsID=16913.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.