Fuel cell technology to power planes, cars

Washington, June 17 (IANS) Your car's battery may soon say goodbye as researchers at Washington State University have developed fuel cells that can directly convert fuels - such as jet fuel or gasoline - to electricity.

This provides a more energy-efficient way to create electrical power for planes and cars.

Led by professors Su Ha and M. Grant Norton at Washington State University's Voiland college of engineering and architecture, researchers have made coin-sized fuel cells to prove the concept and plan to scale it up.

"The results are a key step in the integration of fuel cell technology in aviation and the development of the more electric airplane," said Joe Breit, associate technical fellow at Boeing and a participating researcher in the project.

Fuel cells offer a clean and highly efficient way to convert chemical energy in fuels into electrical energy.

A solid-oxide fuel cell is similar to a battery in a way that it has an anode, cathode and electrolyte that creates electricity.

But it uses fuel to create a continuous flow of electricity.

"The process could be approximately four times more efficient than a combustion engine because it is based on an electrochemical reaction," Ha noted.

The researchers also envision integrating their fuel cell with a battery to power auxiliary power units for cars in the near future.

The findings were published in Energy Technology.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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