Iranian researchers used nanotechnology and produced a type of nanocatalyst which modifies the performance of fuel cells.
Natural materials with large and rich sources in the country have been used in the production of the catalyst. Therefore, the production of the catalyst is cost-effective. The application of fuel cells provides the opportunity to produce energy without creating any environmental pollution.
In this research, efforts have been made to produce appropriate catalysts to be used in methanol fuel cells by using carbon paste cheap electrodes and their modification with desirable intermediates. Electrical energy is produced in methanol fuel cells through the chemical oxidization of methanol.
The efficiency of the fuel cell increases when methanol oxidizes easily. However and due to some problems such as the slow oxidation of methanol and the pollution on the surface of normal electrodes, it is very important to produce new catalysts to overcome the limitations. Therefore, carbon paste electrode modified with clinopetilolite natural zeolite nanoparticles ion exchanged with nickel (II) cation were used in this research as the catalyst to oxidize methanol.
Reducing the potential required for the oxidation of methanol on the electrode surface and creating larger current are equal to the better efficiency of the fuel cell, which are very important from economical point of view. The catalyst produced in this research decreases the voltage required for methanol oxidation up to 500 mV in comparison with platinum electrode, and it significantly increases the produced current. In other words, methanol oxidizes very easily in the presence of this catalyst.
Results of the research have been published in ELECTROCHIMICA ACTA, vol. 147, issue 1, 2014, pp. 572-581.