Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carnegie Mellon researcher leads team working to create methanol fuel cell

20.02.2006


Tiny fuel cells may provide power to many consumer goods



Carnegie Mellon University’s Prashant Kumta will discuss his novel methanol-powered fuel cell research from 8 to 9:30 a.m., Feb. 18, during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Mo.

Kumta, a professor of materials science and biomedical engineering, is developing microscale fuel cells that use methanol instead of expensive and unstable hydrogen, which is difficult to produce in large quantities.


"We envision a fuel cell system about the size of a cigarette lighter that could be refueled by inserting a small cartridge of methanol. So we are essentially developing a more efficient catalyst," Kumta said.

At present, most methanol fuel cells use noble metals like platinum and ruthenium for power. But researchers say those metals are extremely expensive.

The direct methanol fuel cell is powered by methanol and water. When the methanol and water make contact with a catalyst in the fuel cell, they break down into carbon dioxide, positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. The protons are attracted by a special membrane that allows them to pass through, while blocking the path of the electrons. The electrons must pass through an external circuit to get around the membrane, creating an electrical current. The fuel cell produces carbon dioxide, which is vented away, and water, which can be recycled to use with additional methanol.

"One problem with these fuel cells is that not all the methanol gets properly catalyzed and that methanol can seep through the membrane, reducing its efficiency," Kumta said.

Kumta and his group are developing nanostructured catalyst compositions using novel chemistry methods that exhibit excellent catalytic activity compared to conventional standards catalysts.

The technology is currently being extended to develop the nanostructured catalysts on innovative nano-crystalline support systems that will likely exhibit much better reliability and stability compared with present systems, according to Kumta. Portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, personal digital assistants and laptop computers, may one day become the first widely used consumer items to take advantage of fuel cells, industry analysts report.

Chriss Swaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>