Fuel cells are a leading contender in the battle to find green, emissions-free power sources. ACAL Energy has a novel patented technology that replaces most of the costly platinum catalyst used inside every PEM fuel cell.
ACAL Energy’s liquid catalyst is much cheaper than using platinum and vastly improves fuel cell durability. Fuel cells can now be a practical, affordable option for mass-market adoption.
ACAL Energy wanted to investigate some catalyst materials’ capability to react with oxygen, to determine opportunities for performance improvement. STFC’s Hartree Centre has provided supercomputing capability to gain a better insight into fuel cell technology.
In its R&D phase, ACAL Energy collaborated with Hartree over a three – year period to gain deeper understanding of the fundamental processes controlling candidate catalyst materials performance.
The aim was to reduce the number of molecules needed to synthesise and test as potential catalysts.
The Centre’s computational simulations — which model results on an atomic scale not possible in a lab — enabled ACAL Energy to understand the in-depth chemistry in fuel cell performance.
ACAL Energy calculated redox properties of intermediate reactive stages of chemical reactions for a range of candidate material types. This provided useful insights into key properties and reaction mechanism features that can affect fuel cells performance.
ACAL Energy has made significant savings on R&D, allowed it to simulate and predict the properties of candidate catalyst molecules.
Based on the results, ACAL Energy was able to eliminate a range of potential catalysts and finalise the structure of FlowCath®, the company’s patented liquid catalyst, in its own laboratory.