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SCI/TECH: First Membrane-Free Alkaline Fuel Cell Built

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posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 05:28 PM
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Acid fueled batteries could be a thing of the past and may be taken over by alkaline fuel cells. The first membrane-less alkaline fuel cell has been built which could offer a cheaper and more efficient type of fuel cell. It has been built by exploiting the way liquids don't mix in ultra-narrow channels. A cell with no membrane does not only simplify the fuel cell's design but also enables the first alkaline fuel cells to be build. These could be over 40% more efficient then the current acidic units which are in use today. A phenomenon known as "laminar flow" is being exploited to create this cell, this is where tiny streams of liquid become so viscous they do not mix when squeezed past each other.
 



www.newscientist.com
"The concept of a membraneless fuel cell is a great idea, because between 20% and 40% of the cost of a fuel cell is the membrane," says chemist Shelley Minteer at the University of St Louis in Missouri, US.

She has also built a membraneless fuel cell, but her system uses two different, selective enzymes to stop the two liquids in the cell mixing, and has not yet been harnessed for an alkaline fuel cell. "This is the only other way to do it," she says, but admits that her method introduces new lifetime and power density problems.
Ten times more

Fuel cells work by breaking down a fuel such as methanol into protons and electrons, combining them with oxygen from the air and using the energy liberated to create an electric current.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Up until now I have never known why we didn’t have alkaline cell units, I just presumed it wasn’t possible. The prototype cell that has been created is a cuboid of 3cm by 1mm by 1mm and can produce up to 0.25 wats of power. It has been used to power a miniature fan in the lab but in order to power laptops for example, hundred of tiny cells would have to be arranged in parrallel. I see this as a great advance in technology as these have proved to be more efficient than the current acid cells.


Related News Links:
www.e-sources.com
www.newscientist.com

[edit on 22-3-2005 by phixion]

[edit on 22-3-2005 by Spectre]




posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 05:44 PM
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Thats interesting..
What a whole new world, when down at the microscopic level of fluid dynamics.

I wonder how they would handle deep cycle charge/discharging?




[edit on 22-3-2005 by spacedoubt]



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 06:26 PM
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Yeah it's amazing what happens when you look so closely at something in such a confined space, physics just seems to change.



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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Pretty neat. More powerful power sources and longer lasting. Cheaper with mass production- this could lead into new industrial developement.



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 08:11 PM
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We are edging closer and closer to the next Industrial Revolution. I'm shaking in aticipation



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
We are edging closer and closer to the next Industrial Revolution. I'm shaking in aticipation



Me 2. BUT - as with medicine - licensing fees for patents and intellectual property rights will likely keep the great stuff out of the public domain.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 08:00 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow

Originally posted by sardion2000
We are edging closer and closer to the next Industrial Revolution. I'm shaking in aticipation



Me 2. BUT - as with medicine - licensing fees for patents and intellectual property rights will likely keep the great stuff out of the public domain.


Maybe, maybe not. There is huge demand for longer lasting batteries. Cannot really Open Source them......yet.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 11:54 AM
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Good development, good to see Occams razor in action, a better and cheaper shave without a blade...



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 01:49 PM
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Are these things re-fillable? Part of the appeal of a fuel cell is that it is not recharfed by current reversal, but by "filling the tank" with hydrogen, or methanol, or whatever the working fuel is.

Clean electric power, efficient drivetrains, running of alchohol or hydrogen that can be produced domestically...

Imagine the change on world politics, if the radical Muslim nation states didn't have the cash from oil sales to fund their terror. If larger nations didn't need to kiss the butts of dubiously legitimate royal families in order to function. The Jihad would find itself in a world of hurt, losing funds and sympathy, when the industrialized world has no concern or need to be involved in their politics to protect the petrochemical sources.



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