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

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity: Los Alamos explores experimental path to potential 'next theory of superconductivity' March 27th, 2015

Discoveries

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Announcements

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity: Los Alamos explores experimental path to potential 'next theory of superconductivity' March 27th, 2015

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

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

UT Dallas engineers twist nanofibers to create structures tougher than bulletproof vests March 27th, 2015

Novel nanoparticle therapy promotes wound healing March 27th, 2015

Designer's toolkit for dynamic DNA nanomachines: Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami March 27th, 2015

Automotive/Transportation

Clean energy future: New cheap and efficient electrode for splitting water March 18th, 2015

Imperfect graphene opens door to better fuel cells: Membrane could lead to fast-charging batteries for transportation March 18th, 2015

Researchers synthesize new thin-film material for use in fuel cells: Article in the journal APL Materials shows how to grow Bi2Pt2O7 pyrochlore, potentially a more effective cathode for future fuel cells March 10th, 2015

Glass coating improves battery performance: To improve lithium-sulfur batteries, researchers added glass cage-like coating and graphene oxide March 2nd, 2015

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

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

New processing technology converts packing peanuts to battery components March 22nd, 2015

NC State researchers create 'nanofiber gusher': Report method of fabricating larger amounts of nanofibers in liquid March 19th, 2015

Drexel Univ. materials research could unlock potential of lithium-sulfur batteries March 17th, 2015

Fuel Cells

Graphene 'gateway' discovery opens possibilities for improved energy technologies March 18th, 2015

Imperfect graphene opens door to better fuel cells: Membrane could lead to fast-charging batteries for transportation March 18th, 2015

Graphene membrane could lead to better fuel cells, water filters March 17th, 2015

CiQUS researchers obtain high-quality perovskites over large areas by a chemical method March 4th, 2015

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