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Posted: December 13, 2007
World Gold Council is Looking for New Applications
(Nanowerk News) The World Gold Council has identified five key markets—advanced electronics, optical materials, fuel cell systems, biomedical applications and industrial catalysts—for future research funding to develop new industrial applications for gold.
The financial resources available from the council under its market research and feasibility GROW program are finite and that only a limited proportion of project proposals received will be funded, says Richard Holliday, head of industrial applications.
Still, the industry association has determined some key areas of interest:
Industrial catalysts, including chemical processing and pollution control applications—and especially innovative technology for improving the durability of gold catalysts for room temperature air purification applications, the use of gold catalysts or gold nanotechnology that is directly related to the control of harmful environmental pollutants and commercially viable preparation methods for producing high loading gold-on-carbon electrocatalysts for potential use in fuel cell applications.
Advanced electronics, including any technology and components likely to be used in next-generation devices.
Fuel cell systems, including applications both within the fuel cell structure and hydrogen processing infrastructure.
Optical materials, including nanotechnology, chemicals and coatings.
Biomedical applications, including medical implants, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals.
Holliday says that quantum chemistry firm Nanostellar of Redwood City, Calif., appears to have overcome a high-temperature durability issue of gold in catalytic converters and has developed an emission-control autocatalyst for diesel engines that contains gold in combination with the platinum and palladium.
Now under study is the assertion by Nanostellar that the inclusion of gold will allow a reduction in the amount of platinum group metals and increase hydrocarbon oxidation activity by as much as 20%.
"It will be interesting to see how widely this new type of catalyst is adopted by the automotive manufacturers, as this will obviously govern the gold demand generated from this new application," writes Holliday. "It is early days, to be sure, but with the diesel engine market predicted to expand substantially in the coming years, it is one of the most exciting possible new applications for gold."