Volkswagen Develops Fuel Cell Tech with University

Volkswagen is claiming to have established a process that develops fuel cells for EVs more cost-effectively in partnership with a Californian university.

Following Volkswagen’s recent AV joint ventures with Aurora and Continental, Bosch, Nvidia and Aquantia, the automaker now says it has collaborated with Stanford University to discover a method whereby large quantities of platinum needed for the catalysis process involved in fuel cell operation don’t have to be wasted, as has previously been the case. This process normally requires platinum particles to be distributed on carbon powder, with the material from which the particles have been derived having to be disposed of.

But Volkswagen and Stanford say they have come up with a method whereby platinum atoms can be placed on carbon surfaces to produce very thin atoms. They claim this increases the resulting catalyst’s “durability”, and makes it three times more “efficient” than those produced under the existing method. Stanford mechanical engineering professor Friedrich Prinz said this way, “service life and catalyst performance are increased. In addition to the fuel cell, atomic layer deposition also offers a whole range of other applications requiring high-performance materials, such as next-generation lithium-ion batteries”.

Volkswagen R&D project manager Dr Thomas Schladt reiterated the claim that the research also had ramifications for car batteries. Going further, the automaker itself claimed it could potentially “make the fuel cell a real alternative to battery-powered drives and the classic combustion engine”.


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