The result of a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, a new fuel cell technology could revolutionize the future of power sources, both commercial and military.
The direct methanol fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol (wood alcohol or methyl alcohol) and produces electricity, without any more processing. The only byproducts are water and carbon dioxide – far less than from burning gasoline.
The researchers are so pleased with the experience that they have already put in place a 300-watt prototype of this fuel cell for commercial and military applications. They even call it “the power source of choice” for future applications of the sort and plan on developing it for the market demands.
So it seems that the direct methanol fuel cell has several advantages over hydrogen fuel cells: it’s easier to transport and deposit, up to 10 times more energetically powerful than lithium-ion batteries and doesn’t need any recharging time since you only have to replace the cartridge.
Now if you think researchers have just woken up one morning with this idea in their heads, think again: studies for the direct methanol fuel cell technology have been conducted for almost 10 years. Well, you know what they say: better late than never!