Australian researchers have developed a new fuel cell prototype that could lead to much cheaper, more efficient fuel cell vehicles in the near future. Scientists at Monash University in Melbourne created a new cathode that could bypass the need for expensive platinum nanoparticles, which adds about $3500 to $4000 to the sticker price of current fuel cells.
The team says its new cathode, made of a conductive plastic called PEDOT, could be manufactured for just several hundred dollars. Even better, PEDOT is much more stable than platinum and doesn't have platinum's pesky clumping problems or aversion to carbon monoxide.
The researchers are now planning on building fuel cells with the cathode in 3D, to maximize the surface area available to generate a current. With this new breakthrough and the solar-charged process engineered by MIT scientists a few days ago, it's been kind of an awesome week for fuel cell science. [ABC via Treehugger]