There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever at this point that the best way forward for green technology is hydrogen fuel cells and while alternate energy sources like solar and wind power do offer plenty, there is nothing that matches the convenience, reliability and portability that is offered by the fuel cell technology. But one of the biggest and most ironic hindrances thrown up by the hydrogen fuel cell synthesis is the use of Platinum. While water, the chief component of a hydrogen fuel cell that produces hydrogen eventually, is one of the cheapest materials available (it is as good as free), the catalyst for the process is one of the most expensive metal around- Platinum.
While Platinum makes for the perfect catalyst in a hydrogen fuel cell, the fact remains that in long term development, it is just not possible to use it due to its rare availability and hefty price tag. And scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York have come up with an inexpensive alternate to the problem, a ‘platinum solution’, if you will. The team has developed a unique Nickel-Molybdenum catalyst that has been infused with nitrogen to ensure that it becomes the perfect catalyst.
While neither of the components are ideal catalysts all by themselves, combining them together obviously does the trick and this effectively has opened up the doors to synthesis of cheaper and yet efficient hydrogen fuel cells which could well solve the current fuel crisis. While stumbling upon this perfect recipe might have been difficult enough, scientists believe that replicating it on a commercial scale is not difficult and should not be problematic at all.