Currently, platinum and platinum/ruthenium alloys, which are often used as catalysts in fuel cells, are expensive and easily rendered ineffective by exposure to even low levels of carbon monoxide.

To create a catalyst system that can tolerate more carbon monoxide, the researchers deposited platinum nanoparticles on a support material of titanium oxide with added tungsten to increase its electrical conductivity. Their research shows that the new material works with fuel that contains as much as 2% carbon monoxide, and is more stable and less expensive than pure platinum.
The scientists are now preparing to put the catalyst to the test in real fuel cells. The research was supported by the US Department of Energy.