North-western University – It was sheer accident that researchers came across a defective form of graphene that can be used as an effective ingredient in fuel cell efficiency. This can lead to developing better electric vehicles by increasing their performance. After extensive research by scientists of North-western University and five other institutes, they came to the conclusion that adulterated or diluted graphene actually served the purpose they were in search of.

Graphene is one of the wonder materials of this era. Its proton is extremely thin and almost one atom in size. It has a unique ability of detecting light better than most of the sensors available. Importantly, irrespective of its tiny size molecule, it is very strong and flexible and has the amazing ability of conducting currents better than copper which was considered the leader in this respect.

Low grade Graphene can produce better fuel cells

On account of its perfect honeycomb like structure, it becomes an expensive proposition to produce it and to use on a regular basis. Researchers from North-western University and the other Institutes realized that it was practically impossible to separate protons from hydrogen, which is critical in the implementation of fuel cell technology from pure graphene. However, when a single layer of graphene was used along with some water, imperfections in its structure were created. This permitted the protons to move from side to side and could be separated more easily.

The adulterated graphene surprisingly offered perfect answer to all the difficulties that scientists faced, with regard to its effectiveness and in operating costs. Besides, it proved to be far more efficient to use in fuel cell technology. This was made possible by new membrane of the defective graphene that was created that allowed protons to pass through and be separated easily.

It is critical in fuel cell technology that the protons are separated from the basic graphene structure as quickly as possible. It must not take longer to charge a car than it takes to add regular fuel. Although some more research is needed in this area, but, this imperfect grahene has opened the door for future research.

The researchers from North-western University were extremely bullish on the future prospects of using fuel cell technology. This breakthrough will make it possible to use hydrogen as a fuel instead of the conventional methods used presently that include gasoline, fossil fuels and electric batteries.

3 Responses

  1. marty

    George’s comment is better than the article. I am not sure if they even read what they typed. Last time I checked a proton was part of an atom. so “Its proton is extremely thin and almost one atom in size.” Doesn’t make sense. Also I am pretty sure that the fact that Graphene has a honeycomb structure doesn’t have anything to do with its expense to create.

  2. George Kafantaris

    The rebirth of the hydrogen fuel cell: All you need is slightly imperfect single-layer graphene.
    “We found if you just dial the graphene back a little on perfection, you will get the membrane you want. Everyone always strives to make really pristine graphene, but our data show if you want to get protons through, you need less perfect graphene.”
    “Our results will not make a fuel cell tomorrow, but it provides a mechanism for engineers to design a proton separation membrane that is far less complicated than what people had thought before. All you need is slightly imperfect single-layer graphene.”
    “Imagine an electric car that charges in the same time it takes to fill a car with gas. And better yet-imagine an electric car that uses hydrogen as fuel, not fossil fuels or ethanol, and not electricity from the power grid, to charge a battery. Our surprising discovery provides an electrochemical mechanism that could make these things possible one day.” — Franz M. Geiger

  3. Walt

    I like how graphene is misspelled as “imperfect grahene” in the article. So meta…


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