For conservation of energy for the future and for environmental resilience, it is critical to electrify the transportation sector. This is because the transportation sector accounts for paramount energy consumption worldwide. For electrification of the transportation sector, high-power fuel cells would be required to be used on their own or in combination with batteries. Resultantly, this would facilitate shift to electric vehicles.
To electrify the transportation sector, the use of liquid-fueled fuel cells serves to be a viable option instead of conventional hydrogen cells. Liquid-fueled fuels cells feature advantage to do away with the need to transport and store hydrogen. Furthermore, liquid-fueled fuel cells can help to power unmanned underwater vehicles, drones, and eventually aircraft. Also, liquid-fueled fuel cells could find use to expand operating range of battery-driven electric vehicles.
For such objectives, a team of researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering have developed high-energy direct borohydride fuel cells. The voltage at which these cells function is double than that required by traditional hydrogen fuel cells.
Operational at Higher Voltage, New Liquid-fueled Cells display Higher Efficiency
Consequent upon the study, the research team has pioneered a reactant: To detect an optimal range of flow rates, flow field architecture, and residence times that allow high power operation. Employing this approach, the key challenges of direct borohydride fuel cells are addressed. This includes mitigation of parasitic reactions and proper fuel and oxidant distribution.
Besides this, the team has showcased a single-cell operating voltage that is 1.4 times more, with peak powers close to 1 watt/cm2. And, direct borohydride fuel cells operate at a voltage double than that of traditional hydrogen cells. Due to double operating voltage, this allows design of direct borohydride fuel cells to be lighter, smaller, and more efficient.