Fill 'Er Up -- with Water?

June 8 2010

Well, not quite.

Fuel cell technology has come a long way from its cumbersome, complicated and expensive beginnings.

Cumbersome: stacked cells typically took lots of space, as the "microwave-oven-sized" fuel-cell stack amply demonstrates. 

Complicated: quite a number of different kinds of fuel cells have been developed with varying probabilities of enjoying commercial success -- which depends, by the way, on a refueling station infrastructure.

Expensive: platinum, the traditional catalyst used in fuel cells, is among the most expensive materials on earth.

A couple of university research groups are aiming for cheaper alternatives to generate H2 from water using fuel cells. One group uses a molybdenum oxo catalyst, the other group eliminates metals altogether by using a combination of a polymer (Gore-Tex) coated with a composite material.

Pretty neat, but how long might it take before either of these show up in your auto dealer's showroom.

Category: Words to the Wise
Filed under: Energy/Fuel, Transportation