Safe space: Improving 'clean' methanol fuel cells using a protective carbon shell. Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), which produce electricity using methanol, will be an alternative solution in the transition away from fossil fuels and toward a 'hydrogen' economy. However, undesired methanol oxidation on the cathode side in DMFCs degrades the essential platinum catalyst, causing performance and stability problems. Now, scientists from Korea have found a simple method to coat platinum nanoparticles with a protective carbon shell. This selectively excludes methanol from reaching the catalyst's core on the cathode, solving a long-standing problem in DMFCs. Source 1k.