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Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, Vol. 85, No. 2, pp. 437-451

Published online 2013-01-21

Metal nanoparticles for energy conversion

Naoki Toshima

Department of Applied Chemistry, Tokyo University of Science Yamaguchi, SanyoOnoda, Yamaguchi 756-0884, Japan

Abstract: Energy has emerged as a strategic priority not only in research but also in all aspects of human lives. Most worldwide problems could be solved if energy were plentiful. In order to solve the energy problem, the following methods could be applicable: the creation of electricity from renewable energy resources, increase in conversion efficiency from fossil fuels to electricity, recovery of electricity from exhaust heat energy, and reduction of energy consumption. Nanotechnologies have already shown good promise in addressing and offering solutions in these priority areas. Here, we have demonstrated the application of metal nanoparticles (NPs) to electrocatalysts for the polyelectrolyte fuel cell (increase in conversion efficiency) and to additives to form hybrids with organic thermoelectric materials of conducting polymers (recovery of energy from exhaust heat). Thus, Pt monometallic and AuPt bimetallic NPs were used for electrocatalysts with high performance, and Pt and Au NPs were applied to hybrid thermoelectric materials to fabricate hybrid films with increasing thermoelectric performance for conversion of the exhaust heat near room temperature.