An international scientific team from the Clemson Institute of Nanomaterials (CNI) and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Education (SSSIHL) in India has come up with a unique method for combining curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric, with gold particles. To make an electrode, 100 times less energy is needed to convert ethanol into a hydrogen fuel cell into electricity in an efficient and highly efficient manner.
It is known that turmeric, a type of spice found in most kitchens, contains an extract that can lead to the production of electrodes for safer and more effective hydrogen fuel cells, according to a press release issued by the Institute. Clemson. and the statement confirms that the study, published in the journal Nano.Nano Energy, needs further testing.
Advantages of fuel cells
Fuel cells differ from batteries in that they are inexhaustible and do not require recharging. Instead, they need fuels like hydrogen, methanol and gasoline. The battery stores energy while the fuel cells produce it.
Fuel cells produce electricity through an electrical reaction using hydrogen and oxygen and are based on the opposite of the idea of water analysis, because when water is analyzed with electricity, hydrogen is separated from oxygen by two electrodes, while the fuel cell makes hydrogen interact with oxygen, which produces an electric current.
“Fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction rather than combustion, and the energy produced in this process is used to power vehicles, buildings, portable electronics and backup power systems,” said Aparao Rao, founding director of the Clemson Institute. professor of physics at the College of Sciences.
The statement from the Clemson Institute states that hydrogen fuel cells are highly efficient and do not produce greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
ethanol to produce hydrogen
Cells get oxygen from the air, but the problem is getting hydrogen, which is not cheap in nature, so some hydrogen fuel car manufacturers add a “fuel converter” whose mission is to get hydrogen from ethanol or gasoline.
According to the statement, while hydrogen is the most common chemical element in the universe, it must be derived from materials such as natural gas and fossil fuels, because it is found naturally on Earth only in the form of a compound with other elements in liquids, gases. . or solid.
The use of hydrogen in fuel cells is economically significant for the fact that it has low cost, in addition to its importance in reducing environmental impacts, as it is a compressed gas, which creates challenges for storage and transportation.
“Ethanol, an alcohol made from corn or other agricultural foods, is safer and easier to transport than hydrogen because it is a liquid,” the institute statement added.
“To get electricity, through ethanol, in a hydrogen fuel cell, the electrodes must be very efficient, inexpensive and non-ecological synthetic polymeric substrates,” says study co-author Lakshman Ventraprajada from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Education. “We were looking for something green for the fuel cell generation process and to make the fuel cell itself.”
According to the institute statement, the researchers focused on studying the anode electrode in the fuel cell, where ethanol or another food source would be oxidized. This is why researchers used turmeric because of its structural specificity.
To obtain the anode electrode in an ethanol-based fuel cell as an electrical power converter, curcumin was used to decorate and stabilize gold nanoparticles and to form a porous network around the nanoparticles. The researchers placed gold and curcumin nanoparticles on the surface of the electrode with electric current less than 100 times than in previous studies.
Without the coating of curcumin, Ventraprajada explained, gold nanoparticles accumulate, reducing the surface area exposed to the chemical reaction.
This is confirmed by the head of the research team, Dr. Rao, who says: “Without this layer of curcumin the performance is poor, we need this layer to achieve stability and create a porous environment around the nanoparticles.”
For the future and prospects of this discovery, the research team believes that expanding the scope of this method to produce an electrode, which combines turmeric from turmeric and gold nanoparticles, stimulates the production of fuel cells and the construction of cell clusters. . for the real application of this unique method.
In addition, this method may gain interest beyond the boundaries of these improved cells, as it has the potential for future applications in sensors, supercapacitors, and more.