Through our principal energy researcher, Dr Andrew Dicks, LC Energy has been awarded a contract to work on reducing the platinum content of catalysts used in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells.
These devices continue to struggle to become economically viable on account of the high cost of platinum used in the catalysts. The project was one of only 20 projects awarded last year by the Australia India Strategic Research Fund and involves a collaboration between QUT and the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi. The project aims to develop smarter ways of creating fuel cell catalysts, and if successful will break down one of the major barriers to fuel cell commercialization.
Andrew is also supervising a research student at the University of Queensland who is working on novel catalyst materials prepared by nitrogen functionalisation of high surface area carbons that could eliminate the use of platinum altogether. Internationally this area of research is very active, and Dr Dicks has published a paper in the latest issue of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy that reviews progress made over the last 10 years in creating non-precious metal fuel cell catalysts.
The importance of PEM fuel cells as contributors to renewable energy systems is also highlighted in a 50 page chapter that he has written for a new encyclopedia on renewable energy that is due to be published by Elsevier this year.
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