gold and turmeric for an unbeatable electrode

Image: microgene – Depositphotos.

From a new “recipe” to make direct ethanol fuel cells up to 100 times more efficient.

Discovery of a new way to combine curcumin with gold nanoparticles.

The new ingredient for more efficient fuel cells comes straight from the kitchen.

This was revealed by a group of Indian scientists, belonging to the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute (CNI) and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Education. The group used turmeric to make direct ethanol fuel cell cathodes.

These cells have always presented a major technical challenge: to efficiently convert alcohol into electricity, the cell requires platinum-based catalysts in the electrodes, a metal that is not only expensive but also prone to “poisoning” over time. carbon monoxide. The presence of even small amounts of CO can reduce fuel cell performance.

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Recipe for efficient fuel cells.

To solve the problem, the team used gold nanoparticles as a catalyst. Instead of using conductive polymers, organometallic frameworks or other complex materials to deposit it on the surface of the cathode, the researchers chose curcumin, an extract of turmeric.

The substance was used to create a porous network around the particles to stabilize them.

Without this coating, performance is poor.

Apparao Rao, founding director of the CNI.

The nanocomposite showed excellent stability (~200 cycles), easy electron transfer capacity and very good catalytic activity.

There is a big push in the field of alcohol oxidation. This discovery is an excellent catalyst to this end. The next step is to scale up the process and work with an industrial partner capable of producing efficient fuel cells and fuel cells for real-world applications.

Apparao Rao, founding director of the CNI.

But the research, the scientists note, could have wider implications by also improving the properties of sensors and supercapacitors in the future.

More information: www.sciencedirect.com (English text).

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