Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Top 5 Tech: Perecious metal-free liquid-fed fuel cell

Alternative fuel may become a necessity in the near future, no one knows when. Fuel cells is one of the best way to generate electricity because it has no moving parts and therefore enjoy one of the highest levels of efficiency.

The only problem is fuel cells rely on acidic electrolyte membranes to induce the proton transfer that makes it work. Metals corrode in acid, but platinum doesn’t. Platinum is really expensive so fuel cells are really expensive.

At the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show, Daihatsu, through local technology partner Perodua showed off their idea for a precious metal-free fuel cell. Instead of using an acidic membrane, Daihatsu is developing an alkaline solution to the problem.

Alkaline will not corrode metal and this allows for nickel or cobalt electrodes to be used.

Instead of hydrogen, Daihatsu is using liquid hydrazine-hydrate as fuel. The fuel is synthetic and more easily handled and transported than hydrogen.

With Toyota’s financial muscle backing the research this could be the solution for the future.

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