Graphene Fuel Cells

Posted on Jun 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Graphene, a semi-permeable membrane, may make fuel cells practical.

Graphene is a single layer of carbon molecules. A fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen but not thermally, more like electronically.

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons. Methane for example is one carbon and four hydrogen atoms. Energy mostly comes from the hydrogen atoms. So if you can get the hydrogen atoms by themselves without the carbon it’s way more efficient. The Apollo rockets used pure hydrogen and pure oxygen, for example, to get the most energy. But the fuel cell is way more efficient even that the Apollo, which by the way had small early fuel cells on board.

Graphene was discovered more than ten years ago, but the new discovery is that it may be able to act like a filter or a membrane that filters out pure hydrogen. Being able to get pure hydrogen and oxygen may revolutionize transportation. And all energy.

Fuel cells made the power and drinking water for the Apollo astronauts. The idea of a pollution free, highly efficient power source has been around a long time. But it hard to translate ideas into reality because sometimes the materials are too expensive or wear out too fast, etc.  This semi-permeable membrane may be a big breakthrough.

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