Discoveries in the Making
Seeking new ways to fill ‘er up
If hydrogen is ever to replace conventional energy sources such as coal, oil, or natural gas, we will have to find efficient ways of using this abundant element to produce power. Javier Giorgi, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, is looking for just that. Using ultra-high-vacuum chambers and sophisticated spectrographic analysis, he is studying the chemical processes taking place on the surface of the electrodes within fuel cells, where hydrogen molecules react with catalysts in order to generate electricity. Through the use of model systems that employ different types of reactive material, this work is aimed at refining fuel cell design to make this promising technology more cost effective. Such improved efficiency will also be crucial to the development of economically viable hydrogen reformers, which would make it possible to use these fuel cells to produce hydrogen in a building or a vehicle as it is needed, rather than having to store this volatile gas in large quantities. Giorgi and his colleagues are therefore evaluating the performance of such equipment using pilot versions of fuel cell reactors and refuelling stations that they have built for themselves.
Javier B. Giorgi, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Telephone: (613) 562 5800 x 6037