Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Case Western Reserve University Researchers Develop Prototype Of Miniature Fuel Cell

Date:
May 2, 2000
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a prototype of a miniature fuel cell with a volume of only five cubic millimeters, or the size of a pencil eraser. The new cell was produced using high-tech micro-fabrication techniques.

CLEVELAND -- Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a prototype of a miniature fuel cell with a volume of only five cubic millimeters, or the size of a pencil eraser. The new cell was produced using high-tech micro-fabrication techniques.

"The rash of new electronic products on the market over the last dozen years and the rush to further miniaturize these devices has driven the demand for this technology," said Robert Savinell, director of the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Science and associate dean of the Case School of Engineering.

Fuel cells are devices that directly convert the chemical energy in a fuel, such as hydrogen or methanol, into electricity. They can deliver more energy per volume and weight than batteries, even when including the volume and weight of the stored fuel.

In the future, automobiles will probably operate on fuel cells alone, or with a hybrid system using both batteries and fuel cells in which the battery provides power for acceleration and speed and the fuel cell provides energy for longer distances before re-fueling.

All of the major automotive manufacturers are currently developing fuel cells as replacements for the conventional automobile engine to take advantage of the high efficiency and environmentally clean aspects of fuel cells.

Savinell is working with co-researchers C.C Liu, the Walter R. Persons Professor of Sensor Technology at the Case School of Engineering; Morton Litt, professor of macromolecular science at the Case School of Engineering, Jesse Wainright, a principal researcher, and Lauri Dudeck an engineer. Several students and staff researchers are also involved.

The team uses microfabrication technology to print multiple layers of fuel cell components onto a substrate that will permit low-cost, high-volume production of fuel cells rather than building them by hand. The goal is to produce fuel cells in a manner similar to the way that many types of integrated circuits are currently manufactured.

"The concepts used in semiconductor processing make it possible to fabricate thousands or millions of devices as easily and in the same time as it takes to fabricate one component by conventional processes. We have created inks for each of the materials needed to create the fuel cell, and discovered how to screenprint those inks onto a structure to form a functioning device," said Savinell. "This new miniature fuel cell ripens the conditions to someday create micro-systems, i.e., fuel cells coupled with electronic circuitry, micro processors, sensors, and transmitters on a single silicon chip."

The prototype device uses hydrogen, safely stored in a low-pressure hydride, as a fuel. An advanced version of the fuel cell, which would use methanol as a fuel to provide far greater energy storage capability, is under development.

Savinell's research is funded by $2.2 million in grants and contracts from the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. He says the military will most likely see this new micro-system technology first.

"Through technology transfer, the military could conceivably couple our fuel cell with miniature sensors that detect motion or even chemical warfare agents, add a transmitter that sends a signal to a remote receiver, and give a soldier advance warning of any threat," said Savinell.

Savinell noted that for the commercial market, the new miniature fuel cell could be used in everything from automobiles to cell phones and computers. "The major portion of the weight and volume of a portable computer or cell phone is the battery system. The size of the power pack is a major limitation for portable electronic devices," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Case Western Reserve University Researchers Develop Prototype Of Miniature Fuel Cell." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000501080731.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2000, May 2). Case Western Reserve University Researchers Develop Prototype Of Miniature Fuel Cell. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000501080731.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Case Western Reserve University Researchers Develop Prototype Of Miniature Fuel Cell." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000501080731.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins