Earth Science News  





. Tiny Fuel Cell Might Replace Batteries In Laptop Computers

Unlike the other fuel sources, borohydride works at room temperature and does not require high temperatures in order to liberate hydrogen - Don Gervasio.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX) Sep 13, 2006
If you're frustrated by frequently losing battery power in your laptop computer, digital camera or portable music player, then take heart: A better source of "juice" is in the works. Chemists at Arizona State University in Tempe have created a tiny hydrogen-gas generator that they say can be developed into a compact fuel cell package that can power these and other electronic devices -- from three to five times longer than conventional batteries of the same size and weight.

The generator uses a special solution containing borohydride, an alkaline compound that has an unusually high capacity for storing hydrogen, a key element that is used by fuel cells to generate electricity. In laboratory studies, a prototype fuel cell made from this generator was used to provide sustained power to light bulbs, radios and DVD players, the researchers say.

The fuel cell system can be packaged in containers of the same size and weight as conventional batteries and is recharged by refilling a fuel cartridge, they say. Research on these battery replacement fuel cells, which they claim are safer for the environment than regular batteries, was described today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

"We're trying to maximize the usable hydrogen storage capacity of borohydride in order to make this fuel cell power source last longer," says study leader Don Gervasio, Ph.D., a chemist at the University's Biodesign Institute, Center for Applied NanoBioScience. "That could lead to the longest lasting power source ever produced for portable electronics."

One of the challenges in fuel cell development is finding hydrogen-rich compounds for the fuel source. Many different hydrogen sources have been explored for use in fuel cells, including metal hydride "sponges" and liquids such as gasoline, methanol, ethanol and even vegetable oil.

Recently, borohydride has shown promise as a safe, energy-dense hydrogen storage solution. Unlike the other fuel sources, borohydride works at room temperature and does not require high temperatures in order to liberate hydrogen, Gervasio says.

Gervasio and his associates are developing novel chemical additives to increase the useful hydrogen storage capacity of the borohydride solution by as much as two to three times that of simple aqueous sodium borohydride solutions that are currently being explored for fuel cell development. These additives prevent the solution from solidifying, which could potentially clog or damage the hydrogen generator and cause it to fail.

In developing the prototype fuel cell system, the researchers housed the solution in a tiny generator containing a metal catalyst composed of ruthenium metal. In the presence of the catalyst, the borohydride in the water-based solution reacts with water to form hydrogen gas.

The gas leaves the hydrogen generator by moving across a special membrane separating the generator from the fuel cell component. The hydrogen gas then combines with oxygen inside the fuel cell to generate water and electricity, which can then be used to power the portable electronic device. Commercialization of a practical version of this fuel cell could take as many as three to five years, Gervasio says.

Related Links
American Chemical Society
Arizona State University
Civil Nuclear Energy Science, Technology and News

Using Microbes To Fuel The US Hydrogen Economy
San Francisco CA (SPX) Sep 13, 2006
"If the U.S. is to have a future hydrogen-based economy, we'll need a way to generate abundant quantities of hydrogen safely and economically," said Daniel (Niels) van der Lelie, a biologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Ideas To Rebuild Hurricane-Devastated New Orleans Showcased At Italian Fair
  • The Role Of Academia In The Global Aid Industry
  • Keesler Hospital Takes Big Step Forward
  • Former US Environment Chief Blames New York For 9-11 Health Lapse

  • English Country Gardens Under Attack From Global Warming
  • Changes In Solar Brightness Too Weak To Explain Global Warming
  • Gore Calls On China And India To Tackle Climate Change
  • The Role Of Auto Industry And Consumer Behavior In Reducing Emissions

  • Smoke Plume Dispersal From The World Trade Center Disaster
  • Acoustic Data May Reveal Hidden Gas And Oil Supplies
  • DMC International Imaging Wins 2nd Year Contract To Monitor Amazonian Rainforest
  • What Is It Like To Be On A NASA Hurricane Mission

  • Tiny Fuel Cell Might Replace Batteries In Laptop Computers
  • Using Microbes To Fuel The US Hydrogen Economy
  • MIT Forges Greener Path To Iron Production
  • Air Force Prepares To Test Synthetic Fuel On B-52

  • Bird Outbreaks In Four Countries
  • University Launches New Website On 1918 Flu Pandemic
  • Clearing The Skies Could Stop An Epidemic
  • China Should Allow AIDS Patients And NGOs Proper Voice Says UN

  • Indonesia Gives Villagers Tips On Warding Off Wild Elephants
  • Risk Of Bluefin Tuna Disappearing From Mediterranean
  • NASA Study Solves Ocean Plant Mystery
  • Virus May Control Carp The Australian River Rabbit

  • Environmentalists Warn Against Moves To Open Andaman Islands
  • Ivory Coast Pollution Crisis Worsens Sharply
  • Oil Firm 'Concerned' Over Ivory Coast Poisoning
  • Arrests After China River Polluted By Arsenic Compound

  • You May Be Losing More Than Just Your Memory
  • Modern Humans, Not Neandertals, May Be Evolution's 'Odd Man Out'
  • Too Many Men Could Destabilize Society
  • How Did Our Ancestors' Minds Really Work

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement