Caffeine to boost fuel cells?

caffeine fuel cells Japan
Caffeine to boost fuel cells?

Researchers at the University of Chiba in Japan have discovered that the use of caffeine in electrodes improves oxygen reduction, thereby increasing fuel cell efficiency and reducing costs.

And that is quite the achievement, because oxygen reduction is improved 11-fold, thanks to caffeine. This discovery could reduce the amount of platinum used at the electrodes, and ultimately lower the cost of the batteries. The press release points out that a certain amount of platinum is required at the cathode, as this metal acts as a catalyst to reduce oxygen and enable the fuel cell to produce electricity. However, platinum reacts with water (as a result of the reaction between oxygen and hydrogen) to produce platinum hydroxide (PtOH), which leads to efficiency losses.

To obtain this result, the researchers measured the flow of current through platinum electrodes immersed in an electrolyte containing caffeine. And they found that the molecule prevents the formation of PtOH. Caffeine therefore has the potential to improve the design of fuel cells and make them more widely available.

The research was carried out by Professor Nagahiro Hoshi, as well as Masashi Nakamura, Ryuta Kubo and Rui Suzuki, all from the Graduate School of Engineering at Chiba University, Japan. Funded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the study can be accessed here.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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