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Huge UK funding boost for fuel cells

The UK Technology Strategy board will pour £1.1million into efforts to create a new platinum-based catalyst layer design for hydrogen fuel cells. The project, which will be led by Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Ltd along with Qudos Technology Ltd, Teer Coatings Ltd and Thomas & Swan Co Ltd, involves the development of micro- and nano-structured materials with the aim of significantly increasing oxygen reduction mass activity of platinum within the fuel cell catalyst layers. Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells is a subsidiary of Johnson Matthey PLC, a specialty chemicals company; while Qudos Technology is a leading UK research and development company that specialises in nano-scale technologies. Teer Coatings specialises in thin film physical vapour deposition; while Thomas Swan is one of the largest family-owned chemical companies in the UK. Currently, Qudos Technology is investigating a micro-scale templating of catalyst layers with the belief that effective use of platinum could assist the widespread commercialisation of energy efficient fuel cell power generation technology. Meanwhile, Teer Coatings is developing thin conformal Pt coatings on to carbon particulate and fibre materials using physical vapour deposition. Thomas Swan is also studying surface functionalisation of carbon nanotubes with the idea that they can be applied as the catalyst support in the catalyst layer. As the leader of the project, Johnson Matthey Fuels will put these developments together into membrane electrode assemblies before testing them in practical fuel cells.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green Cars, Hydrogen fuel, Fuel Cells

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