Δευτέρα, 18 Απριλίου 2011

The power of 'fuel cell' in your pockets!


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You could be the next superhero carrying your own “Fuel cell” power source in your pocket! That’s exactly what will happen in due course of time with work being done by Edman Tsang and team at Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry.
Basically, a fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. This new fuel cell being developed by Tsang and colleagues is based on their ongoing development of new catalysts capable of hydrogen production without solvents or additives at room temperature. What they have done is place a single atomic layer of palladium atoms onto nanoparticles made of silver. Palladium’s catalytic power is greatly enhanced and produces more of hydrogen. How? The fuel used is formic acid and this is converted efficiently to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. All of this is carried out at room temperature. The formic acid being used is relatively safe to handle since it is an organic liquid.
The catalysts being developed promise to be capable of producing hydrogen from such liquid fuels which can be stored in disposable/recyclable cartridges. This would mean that the day is not far when miniaturization of such cartridges would mean that cellphones and laptops could be easily and more efficiently powered by such fuel cells.
The scientists attribute the performance to the unique structural and electronic effects from the silver nanoparticles that make up the underlying later, enhancing the palladium’s ability to convert fuel to energy. The by-products of this reaction is also devoid of harmful catalyst poisoning carbon monoxide. Here, we only have hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This greatly extends the lifespan of the fuel cell and reduces or removes the need for clean-up. So what’s expected. Tsang says;
There are lots of hurdles before you can get a real device, but we are looking at the possibility of using this new technology to replace lithium battery technology with an alternative which has a longer lifespan and has less impact on the environment.
In the course of this work, valuable collaboration was also drawn from Oxford University’s Department of Materials, where atom probe tomography was used to characterize the catalysts. The scientists involved closely with this aspect of the project with Edman Tsang and other chemists were George Smith, Paul Bagot among other co-workers. They have reported their initial results in a recent paper in Nature Nanotechnology.
We are coming close to the day where we each carry our own fuel cells safely in our pockets. Wow!
Source: PhysOrg
http://www.ecofriend.com/entry/the-power-of-fuel-cell-in-your-pockets/

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