4 October 2018

VW-backed breakthrough could cut fuel cell costs

Demonstration fuel cell stack. Pic: NASA.
A partnership between Volkswagen and Stanford University in the US has come up with a way of significantly cutting the cost of fuel cell technology, writes Brian Byrne.

Researchers have developed a method of cutting down on the amount of platinum which is used as a catalyst in fuel cell systems.

The work, if carried through to production, could reduce use of the precious metal to 'a fraction' of what's needed now, Volkswagen says.

It would triple the efficiency of the catalyst, and would also be more durable.

Fuel cells power electric vehicles by producing electric current from hydrogen, with the only emissions being water and heat. They are in use in spacecraft, buses, boats, and submarines. A number of carmakers have prototype and production fuel cell cars, including the Toyota Mirai.