Revolutionary New Fuel Cell

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Scientists have developed a new technique to examine the inner membrane of a fuel cell, in a breakthrough that could be a ‘game changer’ for cleaner energy.

The lifetime of a fuel cell relies on a process called oxidation, or the breakdown of its central electrolyte membrane – and, researchers have now found a way to observe the formation of the chemicals that give rise to this process.

As oxidation can cause holes to form in the membrane and eventually cause the cell to short circuit, the new work could now help to develop ways to prevent this damage, and extend the life of the fuel cell.

The researchers at Washington University in St Louis used an approach known as fluorescence spectroscopy to view the process as it occurs inside the fuel cell. The method uses fluorescent dye as a marker to reveal the rate at which the damaging chemicals are generated

CLEANER ENERGY 

Fuel cells, as opposed to internal combustion engines, create power through electrochemical reactions, using hydrogen as fuel and air as an oxidant, according to the team from Washington University in St Louis.

And, water is their main product.

This means fuel cells could be used to generate cleaner electricity for essentially any battery-powered device, from automobiles to cellphones.

Previously, scientists examined the cell’s emissions to determine which reactions may have caused a breakdown.

But, the new approach shows the process as it occurs inside the cell for more accurate assessment.

As oxidation can cause holes to form in the membrane and eventually cause the cell to short circuit, the new work could now help to develop ways to prevent this damage, and extend the life of the fuel cell.

‘If you buy a device – a car, a cell phone – you want it to last as long as possible,’ said Vijay Ramani, the Roma B. and Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished Professor of Environment & Energy at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

‘Unfortunately, components in a fuel cell can degrade, and it’s not an easy fix.

‘What our new research does is really shed light on one of the modes by which these devices can fail, allowing us to figure out methods so we can improve the lifetime of devices that use these fuel cells.’

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *