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Fuel-cell solution lowers operating costs using nanostructured catalysts

By Scott Jenkins |

The two main barriers to widespread use of fuel cells have been securing a reliable source of hydrogen that avoids CO2 emissions, and cost — they have traditionally depended on expensive platinum and palladium catalyst materials. GenCell Energy Ltd. (Petach Tikvah, Israel; www.gencellenergy.com has introduced an off-grid fuel-cell power-generation system that addresses these challenges. The GenCell A5 is a fuel cell with a low-cost catalyst coupled with an on-demand system for generating hydrogen gas from anhydrous ammonia, a widely accessible industrial chemical. Designed to replace diesel generators in remote and off-grid areas, the A5 first converts ammonia into a mixture of 75% hydrogen and 25% nitrogen using a patented catalyst material with unique surface nanostructure. The hydrogen is then combined with oxygen from ambient air within an alkaline fuel cell, where electricity is produced. “Most low-temperature fuel cells are based on acidic chemistry,” says GenCell CEO Rami Reshef, “but we have developed a new nanostructured catalyst for promoting the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen that has a precisely defined chemical formula, including carbon and nickel, as well as carefully controlled nanoscale structure that avoids…
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