Fuel cells have not been particularly known for their practicality and affordability, but
that may have just changed. There’s a new cell that runs on methane at temperatures comparable to automobile engines and which slashes materials costs.
Methane fuel cells usually require temperatures of 750 to 1,000 degrees Celsius to run.
This new one needs only about 500, which is even a notch cooler than automobile combustion engines, which run at around 600 degrees Celsius. That lower temperature could trigger cascading cost savings in the ancillary technology needed to operate a fuel cell, potentially pushing the new cell to commercial viability.
The researchers feel confident that engineers can design electric power units around this fuel cell with reasonable effort, something that has eluded previous methane fuel cells.
The new cell also eliminates the need for a major ancillary device called a steam
reformer, which is normally needed to convert methane and water into hydrogen fuel.
To find out more about the fuel cell that runs on methane, head over to ScienceDaily.