Magnesium-air fuel cell developed by MagPower Systems

Magnesium-air fuel cell developed by MagPower Systems

August 30, 2012 0 By Stephen Vagus

New fuel cell may be able to compete with hydrogen variants

Fuel cells come in a variety of forms, but few are able to compete with those that make use of hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cells are capable of producing large quantities of electricity, but are limited in terms of portability and efficiency. MagPower Systems, a leader in metal-air power and hydrogen inhibitor research, has developed a magnesium-air fuel cell that may be able to compete with hydrogen while solving the problems inherent in the most popular variant of the technology.

Magnesium-air fuel cell technology gaining more attention

MagPower Systems has developed a lightweight and efficient magnesium-air fuel cell that it believes will be a viable energy system in the near future. Magnesium-air fuel cells are not entirely new, but are less common than other fuel cell technologies. The fuel cell industry has avoided magnesium-air fuel cell technology because of the energy potential of hydrogen. MagPower Systems believes that magnesium-air fuel cell technology is completely capable of competing against hydrogen variants if not replacing them entirely.

Fuel cell may appeal to military and vehicle markets

The company’s magnesium-air fuel cell makes use of hydrogen inhibitors, which reduce the prevalence of hydrogen gas. The fuel cell also makes use of a gas diffusion cathode and magnesium immersed in an electrolyte, a combination that produces a strong electric current. Magnesium is a relatively inexpensive material, making the manufacture of the fuel cell more cost effective. MagPower Systems notes that the magnesium-air fuel cell may be a popular energy system in military and vehicle markets.

Magnesium-air fuel cells may be significantly more effective than lithium-ion batteries

Takashi Yabe, a professor with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has been examining the potential of magnesium in terms of energy generation. Yabe’s research has shown that magnesium holds a great deal of promise if it is used in an energy system. In terms of transportation, a magnesium-air fuel cell could be 7.5 times more effective than lithium-ion batteries. Despite the potential of these energy systems, the majority of the fuel cell industry and its supporters remain focused on hydrogen.


Related article(s) and resources: