Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have discovered a nickel-tin alloy catalyst that could be used as an alternative for platinum catalysts in hydrogen fuel production systems.
The use of hydrogen fuel cells is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, as hydrogen is a renewable fuel source and is more environmentally friendly compared to fossil fuels. Platinum has been used almost exclusively for catalysts and has been effective, but expensive.
The researchers use a simple process for producing hydrogen from glucose or other biomass waste products. The process involves a single stage process involving temperature, pressure and a catalyst to convert the feed materials to hydrogen (approx 50%), carbon dioxide and gaseous alkanes.
The team tested over 300 materials before coming up with a nickel-tin-aluminium catalyst material which they found can successfully convert oxygenated hydrocarbons into hydrogen for fuel cells.
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