Hydrogen fuel cell breakthrough reached in the UKApril 24, 2013
Engineers make promising improvements to conventional hydrogen fuel cells
A team of engineers working on a collaborative project in the United Kingdom, lead by Intelligent Energy, has made a major breakthrough in fuel cell technology. The Enhanced Fuel Cell Systems project, which is designed to break new ground in the field of hydrogen fuel cells, has successfully demonstrated a new fuel cell system that is more powerful, durable, and reliable than conventional models. This system could have a promising future in the world of renewable energy as it could help hydrogen fuel become more accepted as a viable alternative to fossil-fuels.
Project may have succeeded in sparking innovation
The Enhanced Fuel Cell Systems project was launched in December 2009 and represents a collaborative effort from many UK-based engineering firms, such as Dyson Technology and Ricardo. Intelligent Energy is managing the project, putting its extensive knowledge of hydrogen fuel cells to good use. The project is meant to produce new, highly efficient fuel cells that could propel hydrogen fuel into the limelight of the renewable energy field. The project may have succeeded in its purpose as it came to an end in December 2012.
New fuel cell boasts of 30% increase in power density
Engineers working on the project have produced a variant of a hydrogen fuel cell from Intelligent energy, which boasts of more than a 30% increase in power density as well as cold-start performance temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit). Improvements made to the fuel cell increase its power output without forcing it to consume more hydrogen fuel. The system also runs at low temperatures, mitigating some of the concerns many have had regarding the high temperatures conventional fuel cells typically operate at.
Fuel cell could be put to use by the auto industry
The new hydrogen fuel cell could be put to use in a variety of applications, the most likely of which may be transportation. Fuel cells have become very popular in the auto industry, with most of the world’s automakers working to build hydrogen-powered vehicles for release in the near future. While the first generation of these vehicles are already well on their way, automakers are likely to be looking for improved fuel cell systems that could make these vehicles more attractive in the future.