Science in 60 – A Clean, Renewable Power Source

Science in 60 – A Clean, Renewable Power Source


I’m Rod Borup and I’m the fuel cell program
manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Fuel cells are electrochemical energy-
conversion devices, which take hydrogen and make it directly into electricity
and can be two or three times more efficient than internal combustion engines.
The hydrogen can be made from renewable sources and is a clean, renewable power source.
Today’s fuel cells use platinum as an electrocatalyst. Platinum is a noble metal and is quite expensive.
Los Alamos is involved in two consortium, trying to reduce the cost of the fuel cell. We’re also trying to replace platinum by making
precious-metal-group-free electrocatalysts. The current fuel cell program grew out of the core
mission of the Laboratory back in the 1970s and continues today using our materials expertise. Our overall program goals are to make fuel cell
vehicles available at lower cost, running off of renewable hydrogen so that they
produce no emissions other than water and thus reduce the overall
greenhouse gas emissions.

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