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Electrode Enhancements: New materials may boost fuel cell performance

Two teams have independently discovered ways to dramatically improve the materials used in the electrodes of fuel cells. Those developments could make the electricity-generating equipment more efficient, cheaper, and longer lasting, the researchers propose.

Fuel cells, like batteries, produce electric power via chemical reactions that occur on the surfaces of internal electrodes. Two problems that stand in the way of the widespread use of fuel cells are the high costs and short lifetimes of the electrodes, says Radoslav R. Adzic, a chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y.

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