Hydrogen fuel cells have achieved a breakthrough.  Thanks to the new element, they are much cheaper

Given the enormous potential of hydrogen as a future fuel, it is undeniable that the problem of its popularization may be very trivial and result from economic issues. No matter how environmentally friendly and efficient this energy source is, it must be cheap enough to make it a viable alternative to fossil fuels. It is clear that the authors of recent research on this issue have led to a much-needed revolution.

Read also: Energy storage is one of the biggest problems with renewable energy sources. There is a new solution

how did that happen? The key was to replace the expensive platinum group metals with silver. This component is part of the catalytic converter that is expected to lead to the expected decline in hydrogen fuel prices. However, this was not the only element through which we could talk about the upcoming breakout.

According to members of the research team, simplifying the chemical process of applying the catalyst to the cell electrodes was also important. Until now, this has involved mixing the catalyst with a liquid and spreading it onto a mesh electrode. The new approach uses, among other things, a vacuum chamber, which makes controlled deposition of the catalyst on the electrodes possible.

Hydrogen fuel cells can use cheap silver instead of expensive platinum group metals

In such conditions, the authors had the opportunity to transfer the achievements of experiments conducted in laboratory conditions to the real world. Practical applications are what are important, not achievements recorded under controlled conditions. Furthermore, with proper calibration of the system used, it is expected that reproducing the entire process will be relatively easy.

As research has shown, by introducing silver instead of the previously used ingredients, it was possible to achieve similar results at much lower costs. Additional efforts may lead to the complete abandonment of platinum group metals. By maintaining the current efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells and at the same time reducing their production and operating costs, it will be possible to bring about a real revolution in the energy market.

Read also: Hydrogen as a renewable energy source? With this technology it is possible

By producing hydrogen using renewable energy sources – which is not currently the standard because it relies largely on fossil fuels – it will be possible to store energy in an environmental way. This is one of the biggest problems with renewable energy. The limited possibilities for storing resources generated by wind farms or photovoltaics have made it difficult to consider these green technologies as true alternatives to oil, natural gas or coal. Unfortunately, the use of the latter is associated with huge emissions of greenhouse gases, which in turn have a catastrophic effect on the climatic situation of our planet.

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