Ada Genavia
Jun 14, 2012

ORNL microscopy reveals workings behind promising inexpensive catalyst

A newly developed carbon nanotube material could help lower the cost of fuel cells, catalytic converters and similar energy-related technologies by delivering a substitute for expensive platinum catalysts. The precious metal platinum has long been prized for its ability to spur chemical reactions in a process called catalysis. However, at more than $1,000 an ounce, its high price is a limiting factor for applications such as fuel cells, which rely on the metal. A team including researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory turned to carbon, one of the most abundant elements. The team developed a multi-walled carbon nanotube complex that consists of cylindrical sheets of carbon.