Neurock advancing graphene research for improved fuel cells

April 2, 2015 - A national group of researchers, including CEMS Professor Matthew Neurock, has discovered that a swift proton exchange occurs within imperfect, single-layer graphene membranes and water, thereby overcoming a major challenge in fuel cell technology. Scientists at Northwestern University made the discovery, but Neurock and researchers at Penn State University used advanced computer simulations to show how protons transfer through graphene defect sites.

"Imagine an electric car that charges in the same time it takes to fill a car with gas," said Northwestern University chemist Franz M. Geiger, who led the research. "And better yet, imagine an electric car that uses hydrogen as fuel, not fossil fuels or ethanol, and not electricity from the power grid, to charge a battery. Our surprising discovery provides an electrochemical mechanism that could make these things possible one day."

The study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. Authors of the paper include researchers from Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Virginia, and the University of Puerto Rico.

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