A team of researchers from the Technical University of Denmark and the SUNCAT Institute at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University has demonstrated the superior performance of nanoparticles of platinum-yttrium (PtxY) as catalysts for oxygen electroreduction.
Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) hold the promise to potentially become zero-emission alternative power sources for automotive vehicles. Moreover, in comparison to batteries, they provide much longer driving ranges and faster refueling times. Even so, the widespread use of PEMFCs has been hampered by the need for a large amount of platinum catalyst at the cathode, where oxygen reduction takes place. Even with current state-of-the-art technology, it is too expensive to scale up PEMFC production to make a global impact.