What kind of fuel cell is the ideal type for home use

What kind of fuel cell is the ideal type for home use

At present, all fuel design structures cannot meet the most exact requirements of home users, such as low cost, small size and portability. Research conducted by the author shows that the cost of fuel cells is a serious concern for home users. Dr. Sridhar, a former NASA scientist, has come up with a design structure for a fuel cell that is most suitable for domestic use in terms of cost, size and weight. Scientists call this particular battery design a “flowering box”.

The fuel cell fits into a shoebox measuring 13in x 8in x 7in. The design uses cheap natural gas as fuel and converts natural gas into electricity with a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions. Scientists claim that the fuel cell design provides nearly 3.5kW of electrical capacity, enough to meet the power requirements of an average home without a central air conditioning system. The author has a major interest in the design, development, testing and evaluation of such fuel cell design structures in the near future. The author intends to use and evaluate other inexpensive fuels with this design, focusing on cost, conversion efficiency, safety, reliability, and carbon emissions. For some inexpensive fuels, chemical converters are used to convert hydrocarbons to hydrogen.Visit Tycorun Battery to talk with the pros here.

  1. Design requirements for fuel cells by home users

The most cost-effective fuel cell requirements must be determined for each application. Not only will each application have different requirements, but the design requirements of fuel cells for space or satellite applications will be more stringent. In this specific application, where a certain level of available power is required to complete the designated space mission, the life of the fuel cell and the safety of the power installation are extremely important. In the case of non-spatial applications, the requirements are relatively less stringent. For fuel cells that power the lights and appliances in a home, the biggest focus should be on cost, performance, reliability, safety, portability, and longevity.

In general, for fuel cell portability and cost-effective design, the following design requirements are carefully considered:
Priority should be given to using the cheapest fuels such as natural gas, kerosene, petroleum and hydrogen. The use of a chemical converter is essential to extract hydrogen from alcohol or hydrocarbon fuels, such as gasoline or kerosene.

Porous Ni-type carbon electrodes are recommended to keep the cost of the device well below the $100/kW output, and if the cost of carbon electrodes is too high, other electrode materials should be considered. If membrane-based batteries are used, the problem of water vaporization must be avoided. The optimal thickness of the electrodes must be selected based on electrode performance trade-off studies. High temperature operation must be avoided to eliminate heat flow and evaporation issues as it increases the acquisition cost of the battery. If natural gas is used as fuel, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software is recommended to solve gas hydrodynamic flow problems for high capacity fuel cells.

Hydrogen fuel cell cogeneration unit utilization

Hydrogen fuel cell cogeneration unit utilization
  1. Compact fuel cells for cars, scooters and motorcycles

Citizens of most third world countries cannot afford the high gas prices for their cars and electric mobility scooters. Fuel cells using cheap fuel provide the most economical solution for driving cars, scooters, motorcycles. According to the published report, some citizens in Asia, Africa and Latin America have shown great interest in the application of fuel cell technology. Fuel cells could one day help improve air quality by powering electric cars, trucks and scooters in crowded cities around the world.

Materials scientists believe that the direct application of metal-based fuel cells as an emergency source of electricity will replace the generators powered by internal combustion engines that produce the greatest amount of greenhouse gases. Zinc-air fuel cells have proven to reliably power computers, lights, printers, radios, fax machines and other low-power devices during a power outage, producing neither noise nor pollutants. Aluminum-air fuel cells have proven to work more cost-effectively than traditional lead-acid batteries, which take up more space and cost more. Fuel cell designers claim that metal-based fuel cells produce higher volumetric energy density, requiring less space to provide the same amount of backup power. Battery designers also claim that low-power (less than 1kW) metal-based fuel cells will be best for powering cell phones, iPods, and laptops, while medium-sized devices (less than 5kW) and large-sized batteries (less than 1MW) will be ideal for stationary power system applications most ideal.

Preliminary calculations show that a hydrogen-based fuel cell provides a mass energy density of 42 kW h/kg, while a gasoline-based fuel cell provides a mass energy density of 14 kW h/kg, compared to an acid-based battery of 0.042 kW·h/kg. Materials scientists claim that aluminum-based fuel cells can store a mass energy density of 4 kW h/kg, compared to 1 kW h/kg for zinc-based devices. Corrosion is a major problem for aluminum-based devices, and in the case of aluminum-based fuel cells, preventive maintenance is required. In the case of zinc-air batteries, zinc may remain in contact with the corrosive electrolyte. This means that the “spent” fuel (zinc oxide), as well as some liquid electrolyte solution, must be removed and the zinc backplane must be inserted into the fuel cell and the electrolyte replaced. This presents a maintenance issue for zinc-air fuel cells. To sum up, the maintenance problem of metal-based fuel cells must be solved using low-cost maintenance methods. Once maintenance problems are minimized or eliminated, the use of metal-based fuel cells must be postponed until there is a suitable solution to the maintenance problems described above.

The author has some thoughts on how to solve the maintenance problems of these devices. Research on colloidal liquid electrolytes seems to provide a rational, low-cost solution to the above problems. It makes sense to eliminate the maintenance issues of metal-based fuel cells using gel liquid electrolytes. A Taiwanese manufacturing plant is actively producing zinc-air fuel cells for scooters that use a gel liquid electrolyte.

The manufacturer’s goal is to develop aluminum-based fuel cells that can be inexpensively mass-produced, comprising three-layer aluminum sheets, an electrolyte membrane, and an air cathode. If this design approach is successful, metal-based fuel cells could find a place in electric vehicles, trucks and motorcycles.

  1. Fuel cells for portable power systems

Portable power systems are most attractive for applications where a power source can be deployed from one place to another regardless of distance or location. Portable applications include lighting and music for wedding receptions, laptops and remote locations without commercial power cords. The power capacity of portable power supplies may vary from a few hundred watts to tens of kilowatts. Medium power capacity silicon-based fuel cells are best suited for this particular application. Silicon-based fuel cells use liquid electrolytes to achieve fast electrode reactions, highly structured porous silicon substrates to improve cell performance in terms of conversion efficiency and accelerate electrochemical reactions. The porous silicon structure exhibits several advantages because the deviations in pore size and distribution are minimal. The size of the hole usually varies from 5 to 15 mm. The cell can use a well-defined silicon process technology that has been successfully used in the fabrication of microwave solid-state devices. This silicon processing technology will allow devices to be manufactured at a lower cost and at higher yields. In conclusion, such cells can be produced in large quantities at lower cost, leading to widespread commercial application of fuel cells in areas where affordability, portability, and long life are the main design requirements.

3.1 Hybrid version of silicon-based fuel cells

Fuel cells are silicon-based devices whose primary function is to generate clean electricity at a lower cost. The hybrid system uses a porous silicon structure, a flow-through methanol anode and nitric acid cathode to achieve high electrochemical conversion efficiency. Silicon electrodes are modified for gaseous reactions to create a gas-liquid interface within the pores of the silicon structure. This approach is the most practical and cost-effective for hybrid energy sources, where hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells can be integrated with renewable energy sources such as solar cells or breeze turbines and electrolytes to produce hydrogen at a lower cost. This technology, which involves a liquid electrolyte and porous electrode structure, yields the most efficient approach to developing cost-effective reverse cells that can function as both a fuel cell and an electrolyte at the same time.

3.2 Application of Reverse Fuel Cell

It is not easy to provide power to remote and inaccessible areas without commercial power lines. Currently, in most cases, electricity in these areas is provided by high-power batteries or conventional diesel generators. There are several fundamental issues with both approaches, such as crude oil cost, greenhouse gas emissions, and continuous power capacity in the case of battery power. If gas engines are used at these locations, commercial gas lines are required at the site, in addition to the installation cost of the gas lines plus the carbon dioxide emissions. Due to the aforementioned problems, even conventional fuel cell technology alone cannot meet current and future power demands in hard-to-reach locations.

Read more: Applications of fuel cells – military and aerospace