Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Fuelling hopes for unplugged power supplies

Abstract:
An ingenious trick improves the efficiency of direct methanol fuel cells. Will they become an alternative to traditional batteries and power units? (by Sergio Pistoi)

Fuelling hopes for unplugged power supplies

Brussels, Belgium | Posted on April 3rd, 2012

If you have been left high and dry by your Ipad battery and unable to recharge it, you see the problem. High tech gadgets, electronic appliances and electric cars have a well-know downside: sooner or later, you need to look for a plug - and a power grid- to keep them alive.

Fuel cells - where electricity is produced directly by the oxidation of compounds such as alcohols - hold the promise to provide portable, clean and silent sources of energy and have therefore been investigated for decades as an alternative to traditional batteries.

A team from the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at the University of Manchester, UK (The research team includes Dr Stuart Holmes, Dr Craig Dawson, Mr Saravana Shanmukham) has come up with a solution to improve the efficiency of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs), a variety of cells where methanol is used to produce electricity.

Clare Arkwright, licensing manager at University of Manchester Intellectual Property, is working with the group to transfer this knowledge into commercial applications.

Ms. Arkwright, what are the potential uses of DMFCs?

The biggest advantage is that they can be used in the field and away from any electricity grid. One perspective is to use fuel cells in portable electronic items as an alternative to batteries. However, the efficiency of these cells is still limited, and their use has been limited to a few applications, especially in the military.

How does your technology improve the efficiency of DMFCs?

The heart of fuel cells is the so-called membrane electron assembly (MEA) a barrier that allows the passage of energy but blocks the fuel, avoiding short-circuiting. A typical problem of DMFCs is that some methanol travels across the membrane, reducing the power output. Our team have discovered that a simple modification to the conventional fabrication method for the MEA increases the power density of DMFCs by up to 60% whilst at the same time reducing methanol crossover. The improvement requires only a minor change in the manufacturing process, and therefore could be easily adopted by industry.

What are you doing to transfer this technology into practical applications ?

We aim to license the technology to the companies that produce DMFCs. We applied for a patent, and we are now engaging some industrial partners in pilot tests to prove that the technology works outside our laboratory. Pronano has helped us to understand the market landscape and identify potential companies to work with.

What is a foreseeable future for DMFCs?

The market is still relatively small, but reports indicate that there is significant potential for growth. Portable battery chargers, laptops, field power units and even vehicles are some of the fields where DMFC may be used in the future. We hope that our work will help to make this technology more competitive and widely available.

SERGIO PISTOI

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Elisabeth Schmid
Phone: +39 02 7002571

Copyright © youris.com

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

New method allows for greater variation in band gap tunability: The method can change a material's electronic band gap by up to 200 percent January 31st, 2015

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Discoveries

New method allows for greater variation in band gap tunability: The method can change a material's electronic band gap by up to 200 percent January 31st, 2015

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Announcements

New method allows for greater variation in band gap tunability: The method can change a material's electronic band gap by up to 200 percent January 31st, 2015

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory: Findings bolster theory that quantum fluctuations drive strange electronic phenomena January 30th, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

New method allows for greater variation in band gap tunability: The method can change a material's electronic band gap by up to 200 percent January 31st, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect: An accessible new way to study molecular interactions could lower cost and time associated with discovering new drugs January 30th, 2015

Crystal light: New light-converting materials point to cheaper, more efficient solar power: University of Toronto engineers study first single crystal perovskites for new solar cell and LED applications January 30th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Use MOFs to Eliminate Dye Pollutants January 29th, 2015

Automotive/Transportation

Teijin to Participate in Nano Tech 2015 January 22nd, 2015

Materials - Efficient catalysts... January 13th, 2015

Waterloo chemist one step closer to a new generation of electric car battery January 12th, 2015

New concept of fuel cell for efficiency and environment: It grasps both performance efficiency and removal of toxic heavy metal ions in direct methanol fuel cells January 5th, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Nexeon Board Changes Announced January 29th, 2015

'Bulletproof' battery: Kevlar membrane for safer, thinner lithium rechargeables January 28th, 2015

Toyocolor to Launch New Carbon Nanotube Materials at nano tech 2015 January 24th, 2015

Smart keyboard cleans and powers itself -- and can tell who you are January 21st, 2015

Fuel Cells

New concept of fuel cell for efficiency and environment: It grasps both performance efficiency and removal of toxic heavy metal ions in direct methanol fuel cells January 5th, 2015

Toward a low-cost 'artificial leaf' that produces clean hydrogen fuel December 3rd, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 2014

National Synchrotron Light Source II Achieves 'First Light' October 23rd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE