Page 165

platinum usage in the anode. I think James Spearot mentioned that yesterday. There is also a lot of work on increasing the temperature tolerance of the membrane.

Hans Friedericy: Has anyone been successful?

Harold Kung: There has been substantial progress, but further improvements are needed for commercialization.

Hans Friedericy: The reformers that go with fuel cell engines need a lot more work too. Honeywell has studied at least 25 different areas, and we yet have to find a membrane that can take higher temperature. Even if we have a membrane that has a better catalyst in it, we are still stuck with a fuel cell that is too expensive.

Harold Kung: Reducing the cost is definitely an issue. Many companies are working on cost issues. Fuel cell research has received a higher level of attention than ever before. It seems premature to conclude that the current problems cannot be overcome. In my presentation, I suggested a totally different way of fuel reforming. Rather than just thinking about how to come up with a better, more actively reforming catalyst in the traditional way, let's look at the process totally differently. Perhaps there can be completely new proton transfer membranes as well.

There are research opportunities in what I would call pre-competitive research that is very suitable for government funding.

Hans Friedericy: I also think you can get a lot of funding for it.

Harold Kung: Yes, fuel cells are receiving more attention these days.

Klaus Lackner, Los Alamos National Laboratory: I would like to point out that one of the largest sources of electricity is ultimately coal-burning power plants. If you really want to get the effluent clean and want to capture your CO2, ideally, in a separate stream, you end up going through a calcification process. The issue of catalysts and how to make this work is certainly on the mind of everyone working in that area. I think that if the power plant of the future is a coal plant, it is likely to be a gasification plant because I see this as the only way of collecting CO2 and all the other pollutants for that matter.

Tobin Marks, Northwestern University: This issue concerns available funding for topic A or B. Funding for academic research in the catalytic area in the United States is not very large, and the funding that is there has been shrinking. I think the program managers here would verify that. If we want to attack some of these problems, I think we have to generate more interest nationally as well as generate arguments for why this funding really is needed.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement