Breakthrough of Methane Fuel Cells without Platinum

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So far, fuel cells use platinum-coated electrode which draw energy from hydrogen and high cost required. Researchers from Harvard came up with a solution to replace expensive platinum material with all-ceramic thin-film solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and using methane rather than hydrogen.

In addition to expensive, traditional SOFCs that use porous metal electrodes will tend to inherently unstable for a long time because they will cause lumps that will create an open circuit on fuel cell. The all-ceramic fuel cells to replace platinum-coated electrode are more cost effective as a reliable power source.

Further the researchers also will develop fuel cells from the cheaper and abundant methane fuel rather than hydrogen using a micro-SOFC. The micro-SOFC will only require operating temperatures of less than 500 degrees Celsius while the conventional is about 800 degrees Celsius. Next the team will also try to reduce operating temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius so that makes it possible to be used for transportation vehicles.

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Tony said...

Australian company Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd already use ceramic fuel cells to convert Natural Gas to Electricy and Heat within the home using there already available BlueGen integrated unit. Electical efficiency (60%) is best in the world and heat bring the 2KWh unit to overall 85% efficiency. Much better than the ~28% efficiency we get from centralised coal fired power stations.

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