The third annual R&D 100 Conference, commonly referred to as the “Oscars of Innovation”, brings together the latest and best innovations to identify the top technology products over the past year. The R&D 100 announced their list of Finalists for 2017 and a joint-submission between Los Alamos National Laboratories and Pajarito Powder made the cut.

The joint-submission was titled Clean-Energy Catalysts Without Precious Metals: Making Next-Generation Fuel Cells Cost Effective, and relates to the use of inexpensive, Earth-abundant and easily sourced precursor materials for the synthesis of electrocatalysts for hydrogen-based fuel cells. Dr. Piotr Zelenay led the LANL research team including Hoon Taek Chung, Edward Holby and Ulises Martinez. Pajarito Powder collaborators included Dr. Barr Zulevi, Dr. Alia Lubers, Geoff McCool, Henry Romero and Sam McKinney.

One of the key limitations to the widespread adoption of fuel cells, and specifically, fuel cell electric vehicles, is the high cost of fuel cell catalysts, which contain high concentrations of platinum or palladium”, commented Dr. Shanna Knights, the Director of Research for Ballard Power Systems, a critical player in the fuel cell industry who endorsed the joint-submission between LANL and Pajarito Powder. The elimination of these precious metal materials can reduce the cost of fuel cells by as much as one-third, and will further help the growth of the industry by eliminating dependency upon scarce materials available in only a few parts of the world.

An overwhelming number of applications were received and sorted down to only 170 finalists, from which 100 winners will be announced at the conference hosted at Walt Disney World’s Swan Resort on November 17th.