Sie will Wasserstoffprotonen zähmen, um billigere Wasserstoffautos herzustellen

Sie will Wasserstoffprotonen zähmen, um billigere Wasserstoffautos herzustellen

At Chalmers in Gothenburg, new materials are now being developed that will make the fuel cells of the future both cheaper, smaller and more efficient.

Hydrogen is considered by many to be the key to achieving climate goals, and not least, more cars in the future may be powered by hydrogen. But hydrogen cars are still few and expensive.

– If we succeed, we can make it possible to use metals other than precious metals as catalysts and simplify the entire stacking system, especially in terms of volume, says researcher Anna Martinelli.

In a hydrogen car there is a stack, a large pile of extremely thin, series-connected fuel cells that convert the hydrogen gas into electricity that drives the car’s engine. Chalmers researchers want to raise the temperature in the cells from 80 to 120 degrees, because then it would be possible to use a cheaper material than platinum as a catalyst. But to get there, Anna Martinelli must make the hydrogen protons move through a porous silica material with nanosmall channels.

– The challenge is to find the chemical environment, the molecular structure that makes the proton move from side to side, she says.

Hydrogen cars have existed long, but has not yet had a breakthrough – partly because they are more expensive to manufacture than, for example, a pure electric or hybrid car.

The research that Anna Martinelli and her group are now doing is basic and still in the lab stage, but she hopes to soon be able to show that the new materials for fuel cells also work outside the lab.

– My dream is that some of the materials we develop will become some form of prototype within two years, to show that the proton line works the way we understand it does, she says.





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