Juice extracted from common kitchen spices is key to a greener, more efficient fuel
Turmeric, a spice found in most kitchens, contains an extract that can lead to safer, more efficient fuel cells.
Researchers at the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute (CNI) and their collaborators at the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) in India have found a new way to combine curcumin and gold nanoparticles in turmeric to create a 100-fold electrode. Low energy to convert ethanol into electricity efficiently.
Although the research team needs to do more experiments, the discovery brings the conversion of hydrogen into a fuel cell feed a step closer.
“Of all the catalysts for the oxidation of alcohol in the alkaline medium, the best we have produced so far,” said RA Bowen Apparao Rao, CNI’s founding director and professor of physics at the College of Science.
Fuel cells generate electricity by chemical reaction instead of combustion. They are used to power vehicles, buildings, portable electronics and backup power systems.
Hydrogen fuel cells are more efficient and do not produce greenhouse gases. Although hydrogen is the most common chemical element in the universe, it must be derived from substances such as natural gas and fossil fuels because it occurs only naturally in the earth in the form of compounds with liquids, gases or other elements in solids. The required extraction adds to the cost and environmental impact of hydrogen fuel cells.
In addition, the hydrogen used in fuel cells is a compressed gas, creating challenges for storage and transport. Ethanol, an alcohol made from corn or other agro-based fodder, is safer and easier to transport than hydrogen because it is a liquid.
“To turn our tanks into a commodity that can fill ethanol, electrodes have to be very efficient,” said Lakshman Ventraprakada, a former student of RAW who worked as a research assistant at CNI and is a former student of SSSIHL. “At the same time, we do not like very expensive electrodes or synthetic polymeric substrates, which are not environmentally friendly because it defeats the whole purpose. We wanted to see something greener to build the fuel cell production process and fuel cell.”
The researchers focused on the positive terminal of the fuel cell, where ethanol or other nutrient sources are oxidized.
Fuel cells use platinum as a catalyst. But platinum is susceptible to poisoning by reaction intermediates such as carbon monoxide, Ventrapracada said. The cost is high.
Researchers have used gold as a catalyst. Instead of conducting polymers, metal-organic structures or other complex materials to place gold on the surface of the electrode, researchers used curcumin due to its structural uniqueness. Curcumin is used to decorate gold nanoparticles, which form a porous network around nanoparticles. The researchers deposited curcumin gold nanoparticles on the surface of the electrode at 100 times less electricity than in previous studies.
Without the curcumin coating, gold nanoparticles will accumulate and reduce the surface area exposed to the chemical reaction, Ventrapracada said.
“Without this curcumin coating, performance is poor,” Rao said. “This coating is needed to stabilize and create a microscopic environment around the nanoparticles, which then do a super job with the alcohol oxidation.
“There is a huge motivation in the industry for alcohol oxidation. This discovery is a great help to it. The next step is to measure this process and work with an industry collaborator who can actually build fuel cells and make fuel cells. Real use,” he continued.
But research could have far-reaching implications for improved fuel cells. The unique properties of the electrode can give itself to future applications in sensors, supercapacitors and more, Ventraprakada said.
In collaboration with the SSSIHL research team, Raw’s team is testing the electrode as a sensor that can detect changes in dopamine levels. Dopamine has been implicated in disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. When members of the study team tested urine samples obtained from healthy volunteers, Rao said dopamine could be measured to an approved clinical range by this electrode using a less expensive method compared to the standard ones used today.
“In the early stages of the project, we did not imagine other applications that could support gold-plated curcumin. However, before the alcohol antioxidant tests were completed, we firmly believed that other applications would be possible,” Ventrapragada said. “Although we do not have a full understanding of what is going on at the atomic level, we do know for sure that curcumin stabilizes gold nanoparticles in a way that lends itself to other uses.”
Magazine Nano energy Published a findings entitled “A Novel for Super-Effective Alcohol Oxidation – The Green Synthesis of Micro Gold-Curcumin Nanocomposite”.
<div class="article-main__explore my-4 d-print-none"> Carbon-coated nickel activates a hydrogen fuel cell free of precious metals </div> <hr class="mb-4"/> <div class="article-main__more p-4"> <strong>More info:</strong> Sai Prasad Naik et al., Green Novel of a Novel Fine Gold-Curcumin Nanocomposite for Super-Effective Alcohol Oxidation <i>Nano energy</i> (2022) <a data-doi="1" href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2022.106966" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DOI: 10.1016 / j.nanoen.2022.106966</a> </div> <div class="d-inline-block text-medium my-4"> Presented by Clemson University <a class="icon_open" href="http://www.clemson.edu/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener"> <svg> <use href="https://phys.b-cdn.net/tmpl/v6/img/svg/sprite.svg#icon_open" x="0" y="0"/> </svg> </a> </div> <!-- print only --> <div class="d-none d-print-block"> <p> <strong>Quote</strong>: Extracts from common kitchen spices are important for greener, more efficient fuel cells (April 18, 2022) greener.html This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for any reasonable manipulation for the purpose of personal study or research. Content is provided for informational purposes only. </div> </div>https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js</p>