A High-Power Fuel Cell for Electric Drones and Submersibles

A High-Power Fuel Cell for Electric Drones and Submersibles

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Public and private initiatives around the world are trying to meet energy demands in a more efficient manner. However, the transport industry presents a challenge to this tall goal. The transport industry is a large consumer of energy in the US. Additionally, transport means such as airplanes, railways, submarines, and ships find cannot use alternative energy sources. This is expected to change soon.

Earlier, lack of high-power supply of electric energy limited its growth in the transport industry. However, a team of researchers from McKelvey School of Engineering have produced a high-powered fuel cell for the transport industry. The team of researchers from Washington DC, led by Vijay Ramani have developed an electric cell which offers double the voltage of other commercial cells available today.

The other members of the team include Roma B. and Raymond H. Wittcoff. These recognized university professors have created a direct borohydride fuel cell.

Challenging Experience Promises to Lower Costs Considerably

The innovative fuel cell deploys an alkaline electrolyte at one end and acidic electrolyte at the other electrode. These two usually react with each quickly when brought together. However, a material thinner than a strand of human hair helped the team separate the two.

Zhongyang Wang, the lead author of this research paper said the work was a really challenging and rewarding experience. Nature published the research on February 25, 2019.

Once the researchers found the right synthesis for application, the team of engineers tested the fuel cell device. They also identified the ideal functioning factors to create the high-performance fuel cell.

The cell can potentially power submarines, drones and with more advancements, airplanes as well. The cell is expected to bring down energy costs considerably in a wide variety of commercial applications.