More stable nanoparticle could benefit hydrogen fuel cell development

The setup used to study the oxidation of alloy nanoparticles. Image by University of Illinois Chicago.

🔬 RESEARCH: University of Illinois Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory researchers discovered that a type of catalyst made up of multiple elements is more stable and durable than other catalysts, which often degrade quickly. The catalyst is an alloy nanoparticle, or a tiny particle consisting of multiple metallic elements, such as cobalt, nickel, copper and platinum. The nanoparticle catalysts could aid chemical reactions for clean energy production, such as splitting water to generate hydrogen for fuel cells or enabling solar cells to more efficiently produce heat, electricity and fuel.


  • Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois completed the final stretch of a 375-mile transmission line that stretches from Missouri to Indiana. The project is part of a coordinated multi-state effort to strengthen the regional energy grid and incorporate more renewable energy.

  • Nebraska Public Power District plans to issue a request for proposals in March to procure renewable energy generation plus storage to allow chemical and hydrogen company Monolith Materials to proceed with a $1 billion facility expansion. The two entities signed a power purchase letter-of-intent.

🌱 AGRICULTURE: The term “dairy farm” doesn’t necessarily make you think of robots interacting with cows, but that’s exactly what’s happening daily at Homestead Dairy in Plymouth, Indiana, which earned the distinction of 2021 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year, reports Dairy Herd Management. The farm aims to be as environmentally friendly and self-sustainable as possible, including installing a methane digester and aiming to generate electricity.

🚙 TRANSPORTATION: Boulder, Colorado-based sustainability nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute and Detroit-based General Motors collaborated on a report stating that electrifying shared transportation companies’ (such as Uber and Lyft) vehicle networks is crucial for decarbonizing transportation. The report addresses some technological and infrastructure barriers.

🤝 ACQUISITION: Omaha-based ethanol producer Green Plains and asset management firm Ospraie Management acquired a majority stake in biofuel tech company Fluid Quip Technologies in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The terms of the deal are not disclosed.


  • Applications for the Techstars Sustainability Challenge are open until March 21. The focus is on developing more sustainable supply chains, and finalists will receive support to develop a proof-of-concept.

  • Applications are being accepted until Jan. 18 for the next cohort of the Latinx Incubator, a collaboration between Chicago’s 1871 incubator and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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