Inspired by the humble cactus, a new type of membrane has the potential to significantly boost the performance of fuel cells and transform the electric vehicle industry.
The membrane, developed by scientists from CSIRO and Hanyang University in Korea, was described today in the journal Nature . The paper shows that in hot conditions the membrane, which features a water repellent skin, can improve the efficiency of fuel cells by a factor of four.
According to CSIRO researcher and co-author Dr Aaron Thornton, the skin works in a similar way to a cactus plant, which thrives by retaining water in harsh and arid environments.
“Fuel cells, like the ones used in electric vehicles, generate energy by mixing together simple gases, like hydrogen and oxygen. However, in order to maintain performance, proton exchange membrane fuel cells – or PEMFCs – need to stay constantly hydrated,” Dr Thornton said.
“At the moment this is achieved by placing the cells alongside a radiator, water reservoir and a humidifier. The downside is that when used in a vehicle, these occupy a large amount of space and consume significant power,” he said.
According to CSIRO researcher and co-author Dr Cara Doherty, the team’s new cactus-inspired solution offers an alternative.
“A cactus plant has tiny cracks, called stomatal pores, which open at night when it is cool and humid, and close during the day when the conditions are hot and arid. This helps it retain water,” Dr Doherty said.
“This membrane works in a similar way. Water is generated by an electrochemical reaction, which is then regulated through nano-cracks within the skin. The cracks widen when exposed to humidifying conditions, and close up when it is drier.
“This means that fuel cells can remain hydrated without the need for bulky external humidifier equipment. We also found that the skin made the fuel cells up to four times as efficient in hot and dry conditions,” she said.
Professor Young Moo Lee from Hanyang University, who led the research, said that this could have major implications for many industries, including the development of electric vehicles.
“At the moment, one of the main barriers to the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles is water management and heat management in fuel cell systems. This research addresses this hurdle, bringing us a step closer to fuel cell electric vehicles being more widely available.
“This technique could also be applied to other existing technologies that require hydrated membranes, including devices for water treatment and gas separation,” he said.
Learn more: Cactus inspired skin gives electric cars a spike
The Latest on: Fuel cells
via Google News
The Latest on: Fuel cells
- Toyota and Hino will develop a heavy-duty fuel-cell truckon March 23, 2020 at 5:03 pm
Toyota will develop a heavy-duty fuel-cell truck with its subsidiary Hino Motor as it sees hydrogen technology as a zero-emissions alternative to battery power for large commercial vehicles. The ...
- Toyota And Hino Work On Fuel Cell Heavy-Duty Truckson March 23, 2020 at 3:32 pm
Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and its Hino heavy-truck subsidiary are working together on fuel cell trucks for Japan in a project similar to one Toyota is undertaking with ...
- Toyota and Hino working on heavy duty fuel cell truckon March 23, 2020 at 7:38 am
Last year, Toyota teamed up with Kenworth Truck company to build a bunch of fuel cell tractors to haul goods around Los Angeles. Now the company is cementing its commitment to fuel cell powertrains ...
- Why Fuel Cell Stocks Are Up Recentlyon March 23, 2020 at 12:55 am
Iain suggests some energy and other stocks for your watchlist. The guys also discuss fuel cells, what has been the story so far, what the future holds, and much more. To catch full episodes of all The ...
- Toyota, Hino To Jointly Develop Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Truck - Quick Factson March 22, 2020 at 11:34 pm
(RTTNews) - Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. (TYT.L, TM) and Hino Motors, Ltd. announced Monday an agreement to jointly develop a heavy-duty fuel cell truck. The companies would also proceed ...
- Toyota plans to develop fuel cell truck with Hino uniton March 22, 2020 at 10:46 pm
Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp on Monday said it would develop a heavy-duty fuel-cell truck with its subsidiary, Hino Motor Co, as it sees hydrogen technology as a zero-emissions alternative to battery ...
- One Upside of All This: Hydrogen Fuel Cells Now Have Plenty of Hydrogenon March 22, 2020 at 9:00 pm
While you can debate till the cows come home whether hydrogen fuel cells are the future of transportation, we can all agree that, as of right now, the practical application of this technology is still ...
- Multimodal chemo-/magneto-/phototaxis of 3G CNT-bots to power fuel cellson March 22, 2020 at 4:07 pm
Self-propelling objects have been increasingly used for a wide range of applications. Thus far, the first- (1G) and second-generation (2G) motors have served the purpose of achieving diverse motions ...
- Metastasis-initiating cells induce and exploit a fibroblast niche to fuel malignant colonization of the lungson March 20, 2020 at 3:33 am
How cancer cells engage the microenvironment to establish metastasis is poorly understood. Here, the authors show that CXCR3-expressing breast cancer cells secrete IL-1 to induce a paracrine crosstalk ...
- Stationary Fuel Cell Market to Attain Revenue of ~US$ 8.5 Bn by 2027; Clean Energy Demand to Drive Stationary Fuel Cell Market from 2019 to 2027: TMRon March 19, 2020 at 9:25 am
The global stationary fuel cell market is set to see an increase in its market worth. Over the forecast period of 2019 to 2027, the valuation would reach approximately USD 8.5 bn. It is worth ...
via Bing News