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SLAC Public Lecture: Daniel Friebel | A Blueprint for New Fuel Cell Catalysts


Diagram of a proton conducting solid oxide fuel cell. Credit: R.Dervisoglu. Article featured image: Cutaway illustration of a fuel cell car. Credit: Welleman

Lecture Date: Tuesday, March 26th. Daniel Friebel, a SLAC associate staff scientist who studies chemical processes involving catalysts, delivered the March 26 SLAC Public Lecture, “A Blueprint for New Fuel Cell Catalysts.”

Friebel’s talk details how X-ray research at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, coupled with sophisticated computations at SLAC’s SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, are fostering a greater understanding of chemical processes at work in fuel cells.

Fuel cells rely on catalysts to create electricity from fuel sources such as hydrogen or methanol (even urin).

Friebel explains that fuel cells show promise as a source of clean, renewable energy for autos, but current designs need too much costly platinum as a catalyst to split oxygen molecules and burn the fuel. Cheaper catalysts must be found to make the design more viable.