A novel design for a catalytic converter disperses nanoparticles of the catalytic noble metal platinum on nanowires and then sheaths the wires is a layer of silica pierced with holes. The silica prevents the platinum catalyst from aggregating, while the pores allow gases to reach the platinum catalyst. The design might one day reduce the amount of platinum needed to detoxify exhaust gases.
Younan XiaMaterial scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a technique for a bimetallic fuel cell catalyst that is efficient, robust and two-to-five times more effective than commercial catalysts. The novel technique eventually will enable a cost effective fuel cell technology, which has been waiting in the wings for decades and should give a boost for cleaner use of fuels worldwide.