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Fuel cells

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250214.  Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:15 pm Reply with quote

I learned something today that surprised me, so I thought I'd post it here. Now it's admittedly true that I learned this from Wikipedia, but the references that back up the information are good.

Wikipedia wrote:

The principle of the fuel cell was discovered by German scientist Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1838 and published in the January 1839 edition of the "Philosophical Magazine".[8] Based on this work, the first fuel cell was developed by Welsh scientist Sir William Robert Grove in 1843.

I did not realise that the principle of fuel cells had been around as long as this.

If you know any other interesting things about fuel cells, post them here.

449440.  Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:30 pm Reply with quote

So far, they need platinum to work. Platinum is in short supply and I have 10% of the world's stock in storage.

449782.  Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:47 am Reply with quote

Microbial fuel cell is quite an interesting offshoot in that the principle is that the energy can be produced using bacteria as a catalyst.

This is further broken down to different ways of using bio matter, but one successful experiment was in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory which created the Ecobot II, a machine which was able to operate continuously for 12 days on a diet of 8 horseflies, and is able to perform sensing, information processing, communication and actuation phototaxis.

Considering my cat's fondness for gobbling little insectsd, I wonder if I can power my iron by plugging it into it's backside?

449839.  Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:44 am Reply with quote

You can but try.

The Great Prickly of Pear
451521.  Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:19 pm Reply with quote

Hydrogen fuel cell have a membrane usually made of nafion. The membrane is used to transport protons to the oxygen side were they react with the oxygen ions to form water. In the membrane channels filled with water molecules are formed because of the absorption of them by the sulfonic acid groups. The protons hop from water molecule to water molecule forming H3O+ ions. Currently there's a lot research on finding better membranes, than nafion. Membranes forming more channels or more complete channels.

structure of nafion


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