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Kyushu University team develops platinum-free fuel cell with enzyme-inspired NiRu catalyst

Integrity Exports. A group led by Professor Seiji Ogo from Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, has published details of an experimental fuel cell that uses a nickel-ruthenium (NiRu) catalyst instead of platinum. In 2008, Ogo and his colleagues reported the development of an NiRu complex that acts as a model of the hydrogenase enzyme; at the time, they noted that the complex could be used to develop new cathode catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells.

Professor Ogo announced his intention to work with Daihatsu on the development of a fuel cell vehicle based on this technology. Ruthenium and nickel are significantly less expensive than platinum, an the catalyst could reduce the cost of fuel cells.

However, the catalyst has only 4% of the power-generation efficiency of the equivalent platinum catalyst-based fuel cell. Team leader, Professor Seiji Ogo, said that “We will continue to work on reducing the electrical resistance, and focus on developing batteries with equivalent power generation levels.”


  • Bunsho Kure, Takahiro Matsumoto, Koji Ichikawa, Shunichi Fukuzumi, Yoshiki Higuchi, Tatsuhiko Yagi and Seiji Ogo (2011) pH-Dependent isotope exchange and hydrogenation catalysed by water-soluble NiRu complexes as functional models for [NiFe]hydrogenases. Dalton Trans., 4747 10.1039/b807555g


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