The New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) has named a senior chemist, Radoslav Adzic, who works for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) with its prestigious 2012 Inventor of the Year award. It’s Adzic’s work with nanocatalysts that use small, durable amounts of platinum to create reactions in hydrogen PEM fuel cells that caught the eye of the NYIPLA.
According to the , “This electrocatalyst presents a novel, scientific remedy to a commercial roadblock – how to make platinum electrocatalysts more durable and affordable. Though platinum is an extremely effective electrocatalyst in the fuel cells of electric vehicles, its cost and its lack of durability and chemical stability make it a difficult sell as a commercially viable green energy solution.
“To preserve the benefits of platinum while mitigating its negatives, Adzic and his lab devised a new electrocatalyst by coating a hearty palladium alloy nanoparticle with a platinum monolayer, or single atom-thick, shell. Hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells that include the catalyst use hydrogen as a fuel and produce electricity, with water as a byproduct.”
Earlier this same year, this technology was licensed to a Japanese corporation, N.E. Chemcat, which is a precious metal producer. N. E. Chemcat will “create and offer large quantities of the catalyst to the interested laboratories and industries.”
So, there you have it, another reason why Federal funding for hydrogen research and development should not be cut and instead expanded. Research from the DOE makes money by licensing technology to other companies. These companies in turn, hire employees and put products into the marketplace which again can generate jobs and revenue. Congrats to Radoslav Adzic for helping to lower the barriers for the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cells and for making them a solution we can use now.