Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UMR Fuel Cell Research Could Bolster President's Energy Plan

Date:
January 30, 2003
Source:
University Of Missouri-Rolla
Summary:
President George Bush's plans to pump more federal funding into the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles is good news for researchers at the University of Missouri-Rolla, who are working to develop cheaper, more efficient fuel cells similar to those that may one day replace the internal combustion engine.

President George Bush's plans to pump more federal funding into the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles is good news for researchers at the University of Missouri-Rolla, who are working to develop cheaper, more efficient fuel cells similar to those that may one day replace the internal combustion engine.

Related Articles


Supported in part by a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the researchers are in the middle of a three-year project to develop solid oxide fuel cells -- a technology that holds promise as a clean, alternative energy source for use in aircraft and electrical power.

While research into solid oxide fuel cells is not as far along as research into polymer electrolyte fuel cells, the type commonly associated with hydrogen-powered cars, the solid oxide cells could prove more useful in the long run because they can burn a variety of fuels, not just hydrogen, says Dr. Harlan Anderson, Curators' Professor emeritus of ceramic engineering and director of UMR's Electronic Materials Applied Research Laboratory (EMARC).

In his State of the Union Address Tuesday, Bush unveiled a plan to provide $1.2 billion in research funding for "developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles" that would run on fuel cells.

"With a new national commitment," Bush said, "our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free."

UMR researchers are already on the road to developing clean-burning fuel cells. Through a three-year project that began Oct. 1, 2001, UMR engineers are leading a project that could make fuel cells an economical power source by the end of this decade.

The research involves the fabrication and testing of solid oxide fuel cells, with the ultimate goal of developing a cell capable of producing 5 kilowatts of electricity -- enough to power an average house.

Fuel cells function much like conventional batteries. Unlike batteries, however, they do not run down or require recharging. They also are efficient at creating electricity and are cleaner sources of energy than coal-fueled steam generator systems, which are currently the primary source of electric power. Fuel cells consist of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte, or membrane. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water and heat.

The goal for UMR researchers is to create a fuel cell that operates at a cool 750 degrees Celsius (1,382 degrees Fahrenheit) or below. One major drawback to current fuel cell technology is that it requires extremely high temperatures, as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit), to operate efficiently. But the UMR-led consortium is attempting to build a cell that not only functions at cooler temperatures, but also is less costly to build.

"The reason fuel cells have not entered into the marketplace is because of the costs involved," says Anderson. "The end result of this project will be a demonstration of the technology," says Anderson, who is leading the research effort.

The three-year project is a $3.5 million effort in all, with the $2.8 million federal grant matched by $700,000 in funds from UMR, EMARC and two of the consortium members, Akers Industries Inc. of Oakland, Calif., and the University of Colorado-Boulder. Working with UMR, UC-Boulder and Akers on the project is the Energy Department's National Renewable Energies Laboratory in Golden, Colo., and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.

Automobile manufacturers are already in the process of developing vehicles that are powered by fuel cells, Anderson explains. In the future, some vehicles may use fuel cells as part of a "hybrid" system, combined with traditional gas engines.

"The automobiles are using more electricity than they ever have, and it would be nice to have an additional power supply," Anderson says.

In addition, the Energy Department is interested in developing a stand-alone power generator for the trucking industry that would be more efficient than the typical diesel engine, he says.

In the UMR project, Anderson and his team on campus are managing the overall effort as well as characterizing and selecting the materials to be used in construction of the fuel cell. Working with Anderson are Dr. Vladimir Petrovsky, a UMR research professor working with EMARC; Dr. Richard Brow, professor and chair of ceramic engineering at UMR; and EMARC post-doctoral fellows Dr. Xiao-Dong Zhou, Dr. Piotr Jasinski and Dr. Toshio Suzuki. Some UMR graduate students also are involved in the project. Akers Industries is fabricating the fuel cells, while the National Renewable Energies Laboratory and the University of Colorado-Boulder are developing the membrane technology for the cells. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, meanwhile, is developing the interconnection for the fuel cells. UMR researchers are testing the cells and reporting the results to the Energy Department.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Missouri-Rolla. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Missouri-Rolla. "UMR Fuel Cell Research Could Bolster President's Energy Plan." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030130082002.htm>.
University Of Missouri-Rolla. (2003, January 30). UMR Fuel Cell Research Could Bolster President's Energy Plan. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030130082002.htm
University Of Missouri-Rolla. "UMR Fuel Cell Research Could Bolster President's Energy Plan." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030130082002.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Five minivans were put to the test in head-on crash simulations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shape-Shifting Architecture That Responds to Heat

Shape-Shifting Architecture That Responds to Heat

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 19, 2014) Architectural research students in Barcelona showcase a prototype of a shape-shifting building which expands and contracts as heat is applied. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Aviation Expo 2014: A Weekend to Remember

Flying Aviation Expo 2014: A Weekend to Remember

Flying (Nov. 19, 2014) Get a taste of all the excitement at the first ever Flying Aviation Expo in Palm Springs, California. Video provided by Flying
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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