October 2 , 07
Company Develops Fuel Cell that uses 99% Less Platinum

Nakajimakinzoku Co., a Kyoto firm specializing in metal plating, has developed a fuel cell electrode that uses less than 1 per cent as much platinum as conventional electrodes.

The firm succeeded in developing a new method in which the combination of current strength and temperature during plating can be adjusted in 10 increments, enabling the creation of metal particles as small as 2 nanometers in diameter, one-10th the size of particles made with conventional methods.

These particles of different sizes and shapes are then used to form a plating layer with no gaps, preventing contact between the inside metal and the strongly acidic electrolytes.

The company plans to continue improving the plating liquid to make the platinum layer even thinner, thereby reducing costs further. It aims to have the technology commercially feasible in three years.

Platinum is plated on electrodes in solid polymer fuel cells to prevent corrosion by the highly acidic electrolytes.

However, the high cost of platinum has been one of the factors hampering the spread of fuel cells.

Therefore, reducing the platinum content will help lower the cost of the technology.