August 7, 2013
A new cost-effective polymer membrane can decrease the cost of alkaline batteries and fuel cells by allowing the replacement of expensive platinum catalysts without sacrificing important aspects of performance, according to Penn State researchers. … Creating this alternative took some intuition and good fortune. In work spearheaded by Nanwen Li, a postdoctoral researcher in materials science and engineering, Hickner’s team created several variations of the membrane, each with slightly different chemical compositions. They then ran each variation under simulated conditions to predict which would be optimal in an actual fuel cell. The researchers published their results in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
More than 10 media outlets, including R&D Magazine (Rockaway, NJ: monthly circulation 80,000), e! Science News (Quebec, Canada: 82,000 unique monthly visits), Science Codex (U.S.: 31,900 unique monthly visits), and Azo Materials (Sydney, Australia: 30,000 unique monthly visits) covered the story.