Yang Yang, an assistant professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, is researching environmentally friendly fuel sources.

UCF Researchers Work to Design Zero-Emission Fuel Sources

By: Robert H. Wells on

University of Central Florida researchers are working to improve energy sources for zero-emission, electric vehicles that are an environmentally friendly alternative to combustion engines.

In some of their latest work, published recently in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, the researchers detailed how they stabilized platinum atoms for use in large-scale production of metal-air batteries.

Metal-air batteries are longer lasting than the often-used lithium-ion batteries found in electric cars.

Platinum must be stabilized to work as an effective catalyst to jump-start electrochemical reactions that store energy in the batteries. Platinum-based batteries are safer than the fire-prone, lithium metal designs.

“We controlled the composition of the materials, and therefore have platinum atoms stabilized in the alloy nanosheets,” said Yang Yang, an assistant professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and study co-author.

The research builds on Yang’s recent work that demonstrated ways to reduce the amount of the expensive metal platinum needed in these battery designs.

The work was supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

Coauthors included Zhao Li with UCF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and NanoScience Technology Center; Wenhan Niu with UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center; Zhenzhong Yang and Yingge Du with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Nusaiba Zaman and Abdelkader Kara with UCF’s Department of Physics; Widitha Samarakoon, Maoyu Wang, Marcos Lucero, Manasi V. Vyas and Zhenxing Feng with Oregon State University; and Hui Cao, Hua Zhou and George E. Sterbinsky with Argonne National Laboratory.

Yang holds joint appointments in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He is a member of UCF’s Renewable Energy and Chemical Transformation Cluster. Before joining UCF in 2015, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. He received his doctorate in materials science from Tsinghua University in China.

Share This Article

Featured Content image

UCF Recognizes 6 Top Scholars as 2022 Luminary Award Winners

Six faculty members were lauded for being leaders and making impacts in their fields during UCF’s annual Luminary Awards on Tuesday at Leu Gardens in Orlando. The Luminary Awards are...

Read More

Featured Content image

New $1.25 Million Research Project Will Map Materials at the Nanoscale

A University of Central Florida researcher will lead a recently announced $1.25 million project to map and manipulate materials at the nanoscale. The project’s funding is through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,...

Read More

Featured Content image

New NASA-funded Study Hopes to Put Risks of Space Junk on People’s Radar

Space may seem infinite but the real estate in Earth’s orbit is filling up fast with junk. The debris orbiting the Earth consists of human-made objects that no longer serve...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF is Developing Materials to Stop Hydrogen Leaks Like the Ones Delaying Artemis Launch

The University of Central Florida researchers are developing materials for stopping hydrogen leaks, like the ones that have halted the launch of Artemis 1. Their work just received a significant...

Read More