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Korea: 3D Nanostructure Electrode Dramatically Increases the Lifespan of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

By August 9, 2021 4   min read  (631 words)

August 9, 2021 |

Fuel Cells Works, Korea: 3D Nanostructure Electrode Dramatically Increases the Lifespan of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
  • The heart of hydrogen electric vehicles overcomes fuel cell corrosion problems

A hydrogen fuel cell, an eco-friendly power generation device that generates electric energy using hydrogen as a fuel, plays the same role as an engine in a hydrogen electric vehicle. However, there is a problem in that the life of the fuel cell is not long because the carbon particles used to support the platinum catalyst, which is a key component of the fuel cell, are easily corroded. A corroded fuel cell needs to be replaced with a new one, and the fuel cell replacement cost, which costs hundreds of thousands of won to tens of millions of won, is inevitably burdensome for the borrower.

A Korean research team has developed a technology that can dramatically increase the lifespan of hydrogen fuel cells by solving these problems. Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST, President Yoon Seok-jin) is a 20nm process that is as simple as putting a stamp through joint research between Dr. Jinyoung Kim of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research Center and Dr. Jongmin Kim of the Material Structure Control Research Center with Professor Yeonsik Jeong of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST, President Lee Kwang-hyung). They announced that they have developed a new type of platinum nanostructure electrode that does not use carbon, which is the cause of fuel cell corrosion, by using ultra-fine printing technology.

Platinum, which is used as a catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells, is not stable because it has a property of sticking to each other when it is nanometer-sized, so platinum alone cannot be used as a catalyst material. For this reason, currently commercialized catalysts are stabilized by attaching platinum nanoparticles with a size of 2 to 5 nm on carbon particles. However, carbon particles are lost due to corrosion during repeated driving of the fuel cell, and thus cannot support platinum, resulting in a problem in which the performance of the fuel cell is continuously reduced. In addition, the electrode thickness was several micrometers thick and the structure was complicated, so the efficiency of the fuel cell was also poor.

The research team has developed an ultra-fine process that stacks platinum structures with a stable shape of 20 nm by repeating a simple printing process several times like painting a painting to make a stable platinum catalyst without using carbon particles that are fatal to the life of the hydrogen fuel cell. . The electrode developed through this process resembles a steel structure and has wide passages between the structures to facilitate the movement of oxygen, hydrogen, and water inside the fuel cell, and the thickness can be reduced to less than 1/10 of the existing one. As a result, it was possible to manufacture an electrode using only platinum without carbon particles, and when the electrode was used, the durability was improved more than 3 times compared to the existing commercial catalyst electrode, and the fuel cell output was also improved by 27%.

Dr. Jinyoung Kim of KIST said, “The catalyst developed through ultra-fine printing technology can dramatically improve the durability and performance of electrodes, thereby securing the economic feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells.” Professor Jeong Yeon-sik of KAIST, who conducted the joint research, said, “We look forward to using it not only in fuel cells, but also in various electrochemical applications such as catalysts, sensors, and batteries.” Meanwhile, Professor Joo Hyun-cheol of Inha University, who is a fuel cell calculation expert, also participated in this study and played a role in simulation analysis of the fluid behavior in the fuel cell electrode.

This study was carried out through KIST’s major projects, climate change response projects, and global frontier projects with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT (Minister Hyesuk Lim). Top 6.164% of the field) was published in the latest issue.

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