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Platinum Metals Rev., 1992, 36, (4), 184

Towards a Viable Fuel Cell

Fuel cells to be used for traction purposes would advantageously be powered by a liquid fuel supplied from the existing oil distribution network; the properties of methanol make it attractive for this purpose. Interestingly, the only effective catalysts for the electro-oxidation of methanol are based upon platinum, although the mechanism of this reaction remains controversial.

Ways of increasing the effectiveness of platinum based catalysts for methanol oxidation are considered in a recent paper (A. Hamnett and G. L. Troughton, Chem. Ind. (London ), 1992, (13), 480–483). Superior catalysts based on ternary alloys, better ways of using existing solid proton-conducting membranes and new membrane materials may all contribute to the development of a commercially viable fuel cell.

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