Nanowire-Nanoparticle Conjugate Photolytic Fuel Generators

Background: The efficiency of a fuel cell depends very much on the surface area of catalyst exposed. Present cells use expensive metal catalysts plated onto membranes. The hydrogen-oxygen reaction in the cell is limited to the surface and scales only according to the two-dimensional geometry of the membranes. If the catalyst is poisoned there is no means for reactants to enter the metal layer rendering large amounts of expensive material effectively and permanently useless. The metal layer is typically relatively thick compared to that theoretically needed for catalysis because of present plating and vapor deposition technology. Technology Description: The invention relies on the division of the catalytic centres as a large number of nano-sized metal particles dispersed spatially in three-dimensional open support structure itself composed of rod-like nano-sized elements. The support can be fabricated as sheets or thin elements at the macro-scale maintaining the overall flat geometry favoured for fuel cells. The nano-dimensioning vastly thus increasing the catalytic surface area available for reaction even in a thin sheet. Applications: 1) Mobile fuel cells 2) Stationary power generation


1) Improved electrical efficiency of a fuel cell running on natural gas compared to current fossil fuel technologies 2) Reduction of the amount of active platinum decreases fabrication costs and increases the tolerance for impurities in the feedstocks

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