PHOTO CAPTION: General Motors fuel cell stack reportedly requires $40,000 worth of platinum.

Danish Researchers Cut Fuel Cell Platinum By 80 Pct

University of Copenhagen researchers find way to cut $40,000 worth of Platinum in fuel cells like those used by GM, to less than $10,000.

Published: 24-Jul-2013

Hydrogen fuel cells, which could find applications from vehicles to backup power supplies, suffer from one important drawback – expense.

Current mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell catalysts employ a small amount of platinum to sustain the reaction necessary to generate electricity from hydrogen. Most importantly, platinum is non-corroding, which helps the fuel cell last a long time. The problem is that platinum is rarer and more expensive than gold. The current General Motors fuel cell uses 30g of platinum, which is better than $40,000 for the platinum alone. Still, automakers are planning on rolling out hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that will probably start at over $50,000 for a basic sedan.

Recent discoveries by researchers at the University of Copenhagen could lead to significant cost reductions by optimizing the platinum catalysts used in hydrogen fuel cells. They determined that the average fuel cell stack available on the market today generates about 1A/mg Pt [Platinum]. Platinum is used is varying ways to form a hydrogen fuel cell catalyst, particles and nanoparticles being more efficient than sheets.


One of 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses in operation in Canadian resort town.

Whistler's fleet of 20 buses, each equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell from Ballard, have accumulated 1.5 million miles of service since beginning operation.

London Mayor Boris Johnson (center) poses with officials and fuel cell Taxi near Tower Bridge.

Fleet of five hydrogen fuel cell taxis transported 40 visiting dignitaries and the VIP guests of the Greater London Authority (GLA) during the Olympic and Paralympic period.

Fuel Cell ferryboat Alsterwasser

Alsterwasser is propelled by two hydrogen fuel systems making use of 12 hydrogen fuel tanks, along with 560 V lead-gel battery backup.


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