13 March 2008

New Fuel Cell Technologies

A UK company, Acal Energy Limited, has demonstrated a new fuel cell approach that replaces expensive platinum cathodes with a liquid metal "flow" cathode.
The FlowCath system replaces the standard—and expensive—platinum cathode found in conventional fuel cells with a liquid, non-precious metal catalyst system. This not only reduces the cost of the cell, but also humidifies the membrane naturally, eliminating the need for additional hydration systems, and better manages the heat which is generated....ACAL’s core technology is the liquid catalyst chemistry. The company currently uses a polyoxometallate inorganic association complex that is very stable and robust, and offers the same power density as platinum (unpressurized), with an additional 100% performance improvement possible.

For its next-generation system, the company is developing a transition metal-ligand complex. This is a higher potential catalyst, capable of delivering 2-3x the performance of platinum, according to ACAL. ___GCC

Fuel cells appear particularly promising for stationary applications--such as home combined-heat-power (CHP), plus for industrial and commercial CHP and backup power applications.

No matter how reliable electrical power grids are made to be, grid failure is always a possibility. By decentralising power generation, and by providing backup power supplies to critical industries and services, society is made more resistant to accidents and terror strikes that cripple the power supply.

More about ACAL technology PDF

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