Using high-brilliance x-rays, Stanford Univ. researchers track the process that fuel cells use to produce electricity, knowledge that will help make large-scale alternative energy power systems more practical and reliable. Fuel cells use oxygen and hydrogen as fuel to create electricity; if the process were run in reverse, the fuel cells could be used to store electricity, as well.
Researchers at Princeton Univ. joined with experts...
SiEnergy Systems, an Allied Minds company...
Washington State Univ. researchers have developed the first fuel cell that can directly convert...
Researchers in Europe have designed a new type of fuel cell that is much simpler and can be mounted on a wall and used in a home. Designed with heater manufacturer Vaillant, the compact and safe system is based on solid fuel cell technology and generates electricity and heat from natural gas. With an output of 1 kW, it provides the average current consumption for a four-person household.
Navy researchers have recently demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled P-51 fighter replica fueled by a new gas-to-liquid process that uses seawater as carbon feedstock. The fuel is made using an innovative and proprietary electrolytic cation exchange module that separates gases from water at 92% efficiency. Catalysis converts the gases to liquid hydrocarbons.
Saliva-powered micro-sized microbial fuel cells can produce minute amounts of energy sufficient to run on-chip applications, according to an international team of engineers.
The electrochemical reactions inside the porous electrodes of batteries and fuel cells have been described by theorists, but never measured directly. Now, a team at MIT has figured out a way to measure the fundamental charge transfer rate — finding some significant surprises.
Although low-temperature fuel cells powered by methanol or hydrogen have been well studied, existing low-temperature fuel cell technologies can’t directly use biomass as a fuel because of the lack of an effective catalyst system for polymeric materials. Now, researchers have developed a new type of low-temperature fuel cell that directly converts biomass to electricity with assistance from a catalyst activated by solar or thermal energy.
The energy industry includes a broad array of companies, ranging from multinational oil and gas firms to large and small technology firms. Reducing costs of production is a large driver of R&D in the energy space, and materials development and advanced materials integration are increasingly important in shaping the industry’s R&D investment.
Toyota is promising a mass-produced fuel cell car by 2015 in the latest ambitious push to go green by an industry long skeptical about the super-clean technology that runs on hydrogen. Satoshi Ogiso, the Toyota Motor Corp. executive in charge of fuel cells, said the vehicle is not just for leasing to officials and celebrities but will be an everyday car for ordinary consumers, widely available at dealers.
Billions of euros are spent treating trillions of liters of wastewater every year, consuming substantial amounts of energy. However, this wastewater could act as a renewable resource, saving significant quantities of energy and money, as it contains organic pollutants which can be used to produce electricity, hydrogen and high-value chemicals, such as caustic soda.
A research team, led by the Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, developed a solar-microbial device that combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) and a photoelectrochemical cell (PEC). In the MFC component, bacteria degrade organic matter in the wastewater, generating electricity. The biologically generated electricity is delivered to the PEC component to assist the solar-powered splitting of water that generates hydrogen and oxygen.
Bacterial cells use an impressive range of strategies to grow, develop and sustain themselves. Despite their tiny size, these specialized machines interact with one another in intricate ways. In new research conducted at Arizona State Univ.’s Biodesign Institute, researchers explore the relationships of two important bacterial forms, demonstrating their ability to produce electricity by coordinating their metabolic activities.
Carbon monoxide is a poisoning impurity in hydrogen derived from natural gas. If a catalyst could be developed that can handle this impure fuel, it could be a substantially less expensive alternative to pure hydrogen produced from water. Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have used a simple, “green” process to create a new core-shell catalyst that tolerates carbon monoxide in fuel cells.
Engineers and scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed an app that focuses on hydrogen safety. The Hydrogen Tools app comes at a time when the use of fuel cells is growing. Fuel cells generate electricity by driving electrochemical reactions using hydrogen and air, producing power with dramatically reduced emissions compared to traditional hydrocarbon-based fuels. The only byproducts are heat and water.
A formal partnership agreement to encourage collaborative research, build educational and workforce development programs and inform policy endeavors regarding renewable energy efforts has been signed by Sandia National Laboratories and Arizona State Univ. The move will facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations and help them secure research funding.
Fuel cells are typically viewed as complex or expensive devices. However, Point Source Power and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s VOTO rugged metal-supported solid-oxide fuel cell is a simple, affordable technology that can operate directly on hydrocarbon fuels in the relatively uncontrolled environment of a cookstove.
Grocery merchants in Texas, California and New York will soon have ice cream, frozen foods and fresh produce delivered by tractor trailers whose refrigeration units are powered by fuel cells. The fuel cells will do the work normally done by a small diesel engine, which keeps the cargo at the proper temperature while the trucks are making deliveries.
A new cost-effective polymer membrane can decrease the cost of alkaline batteries and fuel cells by allowing the replacement of expensive platinum catalysts without sacrificing important aspects of performance, according to Penn State Univ. researchers.
A generator that uses a virus to convert mechanical energy to electricity and a new material that will boost power storage in rechargeable batteries by 30% are among eight inventions by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists that were honored with a 2013 R&D 100 Award, often dubbed the “Oscars of Innovation.”
Hydrogen fuel cells are already powering mobile lighting systems, forklifts, emergency backup systems and light-duty trucks, among other applications. Now, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have found that hydrogen fuel cells may be both technically feasible and commercially attractive as a clean, quiet and efficient power source for ships at berth, replacing on-board diesel generators.
The research team of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology paved a new way to affordable fuel cells with efficient metal-free electrocatalysts using edge-halogenated graphene nanoplatelets. The research team, for the first time, reportedly synthesized a series of edge-selectively halogenated graphene nanoplatelets by ball-milling graphite flake in the presence of chlorine, bromine or iodine, respectively.
To improve fuel cell module durability and predict longevity, researchers are studying the degradation mechanisms of the fuel cells that occur under real-world transit bus conditions. While quantifying the effects of electrode degradation stressors in the operating cycle of the bus on the membrane lifetime, the team has discovered links between electrode degradation and membrane durability.
Researchers working to improve durability in fuel cell-powered buses, including a team from Simon Fraser University in Canada, have discovered links between electrode degradation processes and bus membrane durability. The team is quantifying the effects of electrode degradation stressors in the operating cycle of the bus on the membrane lifetime.
Fuel cells make electricity by combining hydrogen, or hydrocarbon fuels, with oxygen. But the most efficient types, called solid-oxide fuel cells, have drawbacks that have limited their usefulness—including operating temperatures above 700 C. Now, researchers have unraveled the properties of a promising alternative material structure for a key component of these devices.
In some parts of the developing world, people may live in homes without electricity or running water, but yet they own cell phones. To charge those phones, they may have to walk for miles to reach a town charging station. Now a startup company has created a simple, inexpensive way to provide electricity to the 2.5 billion people in the world who don’t get it reliably.
To make fuel cells more economical, engineers want a fast and efficient iron-based molecule that splits hydrogen gas to make electricity. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have recently reported the development of such a catalyst. Made from a synthetic molecule, it is the first iron-based catalyst that converts hydrogen directly to electricity, and it might help make those fuel cells less expensive.
The argument that those who have fuel-efficient cars drive them more and hence use more energy is overplayed and inaccurate, a University of California, Davis economist and his co-authors say in a comment article published in Nature.
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