Friday, October 15, 2010

New Diesel and Bio-Diesel Powered Fuel Cell

Brian Westenhaus has a story about a new solid-acid fuel cell capable of running on diesel and biodiesel fuels. The development comes from research taking place in Norway. If the new fuel cell proves out, it should be a big boost for electric vehicles -- allowing rapid re-fueling with current infrastructure. Future biodiesel infrastructures will easily fit into the scheme for both vehicular and stationary applications.
In trials, a 200-watt solid-acid fuel cell ran on both pure hydrogen and on hydrogen produced from diesel by the unit’s reformer – with only an insignificant difference in performance. The system is another handy way to solve the hydrogen production and storage issue as well as keep consumers access to abundant fuels used at very high efficiencies.

Diesel is a hydrocarbon thus CO2 is an issue. The reformer section converts the hydrocarbons into hydrogen, CO2 and heat. Due to the unit’s high efficiency, CO2 emissions are substantially lower than in conventional combustion engines, and no other demonstrable exhaust is discharged – meaning that diesel particulates, black carbon soot, nitrous oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) are eliminated. An added plus is that the reformer emits no smoke or odor. And, it’s dead silent.

The silent electric generator is being developed and produced by the Norwegian company Nordic Power Systems (NPS). The new type of fuel cell is being developed and delivered from the California firm SAFCell. The development of solid-based acid fuel cells (SAFC) was pioneered in the Haile Lab of the Material Science Department at Caltech. Dr. Calum Chisholm, together with a team of experienced scientists, engineers, and business executives founded SAFCell to bring the technology to the market in November of 2009. Things are moving very fast – it not been a year yet and the prototype field test units are being built. _BrianWestenhaus

Update on waste-to-fuels enterprise by Terrabon

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