Florian Nitze came up with the technology as part of his thesis in physics. The engineered catalyst is based on a combination of material science and nanotechnology.
According to the scientist, the longest lifetime was achieved when palladium-nanoparticles were attached to a unique helical formed carbon nanofibre with very high electrical conductivity. The catalyst was found to have high potential to be used in formic acid fuel cells.
Considering that formic acid can be produced from renewable sources, it is a highly desirable alternative. When added to Li-ion batteries, it can speed up the charging process.
Nitze developed several catalysts based on palladium- an element, which has the same properties as gold and platinum, but it is available at a much lower price.
When such catalyst is added to a fuel cell, it lowers the energy loss, bringing up the efficiency of the cell.