Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Discoveries

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Creation of 'Rocker' protein opens way for new smart molecules in medicine, other fields December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Announcements

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

Aculon Hires New Business Development Director December 19th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

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

Oregon researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity: Collaboration with Lund University uses modified UO spectroscopy equipment to study 'maze' of connections in photoactive quantum dots December 19th, 2014

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough December 19th, 2014

How does enzymatic pretreatment affect the nanostructure and reaction space of lignocellulosic biomass? December 18th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Automotive/Transportation

Lifeboat Foundation gives 2014 Guardian Award to Elon Musk December 16th, 2014

The gold standard December 9th, 2014

Nanocatalysts Can Reduce Pollution Caused by Diesel Engines December 4th, 2014

NEI introduces NANOMYTEŽ SuperAi, a Durable Anti-ice Coating December 4th, 2014

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

Iranian Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Increase Power, Energy of Supercapacitors December 18th, 2014

Nexeon Attracts ex-Nokia Product Executive to its Board of Directors December 15th, 2014

Defects are perfect in laser-induced graphene: Rice University lab discovers simple way to make material for energy storage, electronics December 10th, 2014

Lengthening the life of high capacity silicon electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries: Novel rubber-like coating could lead to longer lasting batteries December 2nd, 2014

Fuel Cells

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

Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven October 14th, 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 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE