Cost Cutting Nanocatalyst
AT ABOUT one-fifth of the cost of platinum powder, a nickel/cobalt alloy developed by US company QuantumSphere, promises to offer an effective and much cheaper electrode for use in batteries and fuel cells, according to energy and battery consultancy DoppStein Enterprises (DSE). DSE’s independent validation of the QSI-nano alloy has found that the nanoparticles show up to 90% of the catalytic activity compared with a pure platinum catalysed cathode.
‘Not only are QuantumSphere’s catalysts active alone, they also enhance the activity of platinum when combined with various QSI-nano materials,’ said DSE president Robert Dopp. ‘The impact of these findings is enormous, as it reveals that [these] nanocatalysts… have the potential partially or fully to replace platinum (a $10bn-$12bn market annually), one of the most expensive and scarce electrode components.’
Use of the alloy should also dramatically accelerate the commercialisation of portable fuel cells for which this technology is particularly applicable, he added.