Skip to comments.Nanonickel to Replace Platinum as a Catalyst in Fuel Cells and in Other Applications
Posted on 04/26/2005 11:49:24 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou
QuantumSphere, Inc., a manufacturer of metallic nanopowders, working toward catalyzing the future for fuel cells, batteries, and hydrogen generation, is moving forward with the collaboration of Robert Dopp, of Doppstein Enterprises, Inc. (DSE). Together they are testing QuantumSphere's new line of nano-catalysts in functioning air electrodes to better identify significant parameters in the development cycle. Mr. Dopp has developed a cathode manufacturing process expressly designed to manufacture small "coupons" of highly uniform, very active and reproducible gas diffusion electrodes. These are typically used in metal air batteries, alkaline fuel cells, other air breathing systems as well as hydrogen generation cells. By producing the finished product from the new generation of catalyst, QuantumSphere can engineer their particle size distribution, composition and distribution to optimum performance. This is something that quantitative and physical measurements cannot achieve; the collaborative efforts of QuantumSphere and DSE can.
"We are extremely pleased to work with Robert Dopp who is an industry veteran in the fuel cell, battery and related industries," said Kevin Maloney, CEO, QuantumSphere, Inc. "During his three decades of battery R&D, resulting in 36 related patents bearing his name, he has designed several production air cathode machines, making the highest rate air cathode in the world. He has helped to develop a consumer battery with over four times the energy density of Alkaline cylindrical cells, and many tens of times higher energy than many rechargeable batteries," Maloney added.
The efficient generation of hydrogen from a source other than petroleum (i.e. Hydrolysis cells) and the efficient conversion of hydrogen into energy (i.e. Fuel cells) are two of the most pressing needs of the century. Platinum is currently the only known catalyst to satisfy this development need and there is not enough platinum available in the world. Through this twofold effort between QSI and DSE, we hope to electrochemically demonstrate that nano-materials are an excellent replacement for platinum.
"QuantumSphere is one of the leaders in the race to develop catalysts that do not contain platinum. To achieve this goal, they have developed a line of pure nickel, copper, silver and other metallic nanoparticles" said Robert Dopp. "Their unique process also allows for the production of nano-sized catalysts utilizing the active cobalt nickel oxides and chelated cobalt cyclic-porphyrins. This development is not only exciting - but what they are doing is vital," Dopp added.
QuantumSphere produces the highest quality and quantity of nanonickel in the world. Nanonickel has the potential to replace platinum as the main catalytic material in a variety of hydrogen fuel cells. A shift from platinum to QSI-nanoTM nickel would result in a reduction in the cost of fuel cell and electrode catalysts by over 75%, based on current prices. The news follows QuantumSphere's announcement earlier in the year that it completed the buildout of a large-scale reactor for the production of nanonickel (n-Ni) that will be used to produce a renewable source of power to supply the world's energy needs.
Not really that small. Nickle is abundant and cheap, the Canadian shield is loaded with the stuff. One of the biggest problems with the Ballard hydrogen fuel cell generators is cost. A reduction of 75% of the cost makes this an efficient home heating and electricity supply. Imagine if every home generated it's own heat and electricity, the only plumbing needed being a waterline and sewer pipe. It would reduce the growing demand both for electrical powerline corridors, natural gas lines and powerplants, nuclear or otherwise.
Replacing existing home funaces with a ballard generator would be simple. It could revolutionize the whole energy industry, greatly reducing oil dependancy.
It's not far from reach if the cost of one of these things can be brought way down.
Nano-nickle is made from pure nickle wire, so why would nano nicle kill the nickle industry by creating more demand for it?
Japan is leaping ahead in home based fuel cell and electrical development (thanks to the Canadian based Ballard co.) with a limited commercial launch of just such a product which can run with a natural gas hydrogen converter (or hydrogen supply).
Reducing the costs of these type of things with nano nickle and you just might see them popping up in Canadian homes, especially with Canada's abundant natural gas supply. Improvents via nano nickle could make hydrogen generation within the home efficient enough that these things could eventualy could require only a water supply,producing enough hydrogen via electrolysis to run the generator/heater.
As it is, using natural gas they aready produce enough electricity and hot water/ heat for a family of 4, saving 26% of natural gas a normal house goes through on heating alone. They have development potential with nano nickle, which will create a demand for pure nickle wire. (from what I have read, those things need to have their platinum catylist cores replaced periodicly which for now is expensive)
I should add, that IF they ever refine these units to that potential, there isn't enough platinum in the world to meet the potential demand, but with nano nickle development, there is an abundance of nickle in the world that can. This is good news for Ballard.
One problem with the palladium catalysts is that the petroleum refineries use it to crack the crude. By the train car load. Having bought palladium catalysts for organic chem reactions, the idea of paying for multiple train cars full makes me shudder.
Platinum group metals are present in the Earth's crust at a much higher percentage than thought. It's just a matter of how and where one looks. Same with gold. Sadly, those who know that have a pretty good corner on the difference. Converting the monoatomic form to its' metallic base is an option that has been overlooked for years, since the testing equipment is not set up to look for the white powder form.
What source fuel are you envisioning will be used in the home fuel cell? I can picture a water, sewer, and gas pipe to a house but I can't see how you get around needing that gas pipe. Unless you propose large on-site storage tanks for each home?
It is ironic that most of North America's platinum is co-produced from Canadian nickel mines.
with nano nickle, this can be one method with future improvements, maybe with a small outside electrical source to assist when needed. I can also see gas pipes being used to supply large scale electrolysis produced H2 from all the excess power that will be around from unneeded electricity generators, nuclear plants
There is a big convention devoted to PGM exploration and mining in Vancouver in June. I think it is being run by Cambridge House Conferences.
I attend their conventions every year. They're very informative. Lots of analysts and newsletter writers giving talks and workshops. The last one had 240 mining companies exhibiting.
Pure nickel in automotive converters produces methane(hydrogenation), there is an alloy of nickel/tin/alumina that gives the desired effect but cost more to produce than using platinum. (IIRC, it required more room under the car too.)
The article here says that nano nickel behaves like platinum, but I'm not certain if that means no hydrogenation.