Chemists from the Novosibirsk State University (NSU) and the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, have developed a solid solution of cobalt and iridium - a new compound that can act as a catalyst in a variety of fuel cells by replacing the expensive platinum, according to the press service of the NSU.
The university explained that the fuel cells were characterized by high efficiency (50%) and the ability to use unlimited time with the continuous supply of fuel and oxidant. However, for the reactions at the electrodes the catalyst is required. Platinum is widely spread as a catalyst, but it has disadvantages, and the cost of platinum electrodes are more than 70% of the cost of the fuel cell.
"Iridium is on average two times cheaper than platinum. Due to the addition of cobalt base metal to solution catalyst the cost is further reduced. In addition, a synergistic effect is manifested - catalyst efficiency increases as a result of the merger of the individual parts in a single system. Cobalt-iridium alloy works as well as platinum, and we have the same effectiveness, but at a low cost and a longer life ", - the words of an employee at synthesis lab and physico-chemical studies of the new composite catalysts NSU Yevgeniy Filatov were reported.
The scientist reported that typically receiving massive solid solution metal occurs due to the fact that the metal chips are homogenized until smooth using high temperatures, and then milled again, and the operation is repeated as many times as necessary to complete the interdiffusion of metal atoms. However, this method is time consuming, and the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of Russian Academy of Sciences uses thermolysis of binary complex metal salts, which speeds up the process from months to hours.