Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't Jump on that Platinum/Gold Spread Yet: Platinum-Free Fuel Cell

Last week we talked about gold trading higher than platinum and mentioned that we had made a little money the last time this happened. In this article we see platinum may lose a potential market. Gold futures were recently trading at $836.50, platinum at $836.90.
From MIT's Technology Review:

A new fuel cell uses a cheap nickel catalyst.
Fuel cells are, in principle, the most efficient way to convert hydrogen fuel into electricity. But they require expensive catalysts such as platinum to split hydrogen into ions and electrical current. Cheaper metals simply can't withstand the harsh acidic environment of the fuel cell. Now researchers in China have developed a fuel cell that uses a new membrane material to operate in alkaline conditions, eliminating the need for an expensive catalyst. The power output of the new prototype, which uses nickel as a catalyst, is still relatively low, but it provides a first demonstration of a potentially much less expensive fuel cell....MORE