A fuel cell small enough and efficient enough to heat small homes and power cars? That’s what engineers at the University of Minnesota say they have developed. This prototype reactor produces hydrogen from corn-based ethanol. The fuel cell then acts like a battery and generates power.
This new reactor could potentially capture 50 percent of the energy stored in sugar (corn) as opposed to the 20 percent captured in conventional ethanol production for use in cars. This could lead the way in making renewable hydrogen that is mor economical and available.
Currently, hydrogen is expensive to make requiring huge amounts of fossil fuels but, according to the developers, the ethanol operated reactor can produce hydrogen exclusively from ethanol, making it cheap enough that people can afford to buy hydrogen fuel cells for personal use.
This new process holds great potential for the Midwest farmers growing corn for ethanol production and ethanol producers als well.
(Vgl. Meldung vom 2003-03-26.)
Source: The Alcohol Times-Newsletter, March 2004.