The key to constructing everything from long distance electric cars to increasing hydrogen production from water electrolysis is developing efficient high capacity energy storage systems. A new nanofiber created by Materials Researchers might just be the key to the next generation of this technology.
A close up of the new double perovskite nanofiber catalyst
In “A tailored double perovskite nanofiber catalyst enables ultrafast oxygen evolution“, published on February 27th, a team of researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have revealed how they developed a new type of nanofiber which could be used as a catalyst in ultrafast oxygen evolution reactions.
Oxygen evolution reactions are the underlying processes in all hydrogen-based energy and new metal-air batteries.
Meilin Liu, a Regents Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering explained that “metal-air batteries, such as those that could power electric vehicles in the future, are able to store a lot of energy in a much smaller space than current batteries”
“The problem is that the batteries lack a cost-efficient catalyst to improve their efficiency. This new catalyst will improve that process.”
The technology used a crystal structure (perovskite) as a catalyst to form the nanofibers and it was “this unique crystal structure and the composition are vital to enabling better activity and durability for the application” Liu explained.
The new nanofiber catalytic activity is about 72 times greater than the initial powder catalyst, and 2.5 times greater than iridium oxide (a state of the art catalyst by current standards).
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The new material could improve the catalyst technology across a number of industries.
The team believe the technology could not only push forward the development of rechargeable metal-air batteries but potentially become the next step forward in creating more efficient fuel cell technologies that could aid in the creation of renewable energy systems.
“Solar, wind, geothermal – those are becoming very inexpensive today. But the trouble is those renewable energies are intermittent in nature,” Liu explains. “When there is no wind, you have no power. But what if we could store the energy from the sun or the wind when there’s an excess supply. We can use that extra electricity to produce hydrogen and store that energy for use when we need it.”
Find out more at gatech.edu