Blue light shines off of intersecting beams while being analyzed by scientists

Researchers discover promising new catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells hold a lot of promise as sustainable and eco-friendly energy sources to power transportation by land, air and sea. But traditional catalysts used to drive chemical reactions in hydrogen fuel cells are too costly and inefficient to justify a large-scale commercial shift away from existing technologies.

In new interdisciplinary research published in American Chemical Society Publications, Northeastern scientists have identified a novel class of catalysts that, because of their particular non-noble-metal nature, could replace the platinum-based standard that has prevented hydrogen from advancing in the fuel sector.

“We are quickly transitioning to electric modes of transportation, and as I see it, batteries are only a transitionary phase,” says Sanjeev Mukerjee, a distinguished professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern, who is a co-author of the study. “It’s not the ultimate answer to replacing fossil fuels.”

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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University
Chemistry and Chemical Biology