Kerala Univ. develops eco-friendly tech.

Eco-Friendly Fuel Cell Innovation by University of Kerala

Researchers at the University of Kerala have recently introduced a groundbreaking eco-friendly fuel cell that harnesses power from air and seawater. The ‘Air-breathing Magnesium – Copper / Cupric Oxide Fuel Cell’ developed by R Jayakrishnan, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, and his team, has garnered significant attention in the scientific community.

Disruptive Technology with Environmental Benefits

This innovative fuel cell technology is poised to challenge the dominance of Lithium-ion batteries by offering higher power output. By utilizing air and saline water as fuel sources, the Magnesium-based fuel cell operates cleanly, generating only electricity, heat, and emitting water during its process.

Researchers worldwide are currently exploring cleaner alternatives for electricity production, with a focus on hydrogen-based fuel cells. The use of a semiconducting layer of Cupric Oxide on a Copper substrate in the Magnesium-Sodium Chloride fuel cell design has shown promising results. A prototype fuel cell tested on a commercial toy car displayed efficient performance, encouraging further development in the field.

Innovative Use of Semiconductor Materials

One key aspect of this research is the utilization of semiconductor materials instead of the costly Platinum commonly found in air cathode systems. By incorporating semiconductor technology, the team led by Jayakrishnan has not only enhanced the efficiency of the fuel cell but also reduced production costs, making the technology more accessible for widespread adoption.

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The successful prototyping of a compact fuel cell measuring 3 cm x 1.5 cm x 1 cm, which delivered a voltage of 0.7 V and a current of 0.35 A for 10 minutes, showcases the potential of this technology. Despite acknowledging the need for further development before commercialization, Jayakrishnan remains optimistic about the competitiveness and rapid progress of their research with adequate funding support.

Future Prospects and Industry Impact

The application of saltwater as fuel in this fuel cell technology marks a significant step towards sustainable energy solutions. With a growing global focus on renewable energy sources, the Air-breathing Magnesium – Copper / Cupric Oxide Fuel Cell presents a promising alternative to traditional power generation methods.

As the research continues to progress, the potential for this technology to revolutionize the energy sector is immense. By addressing environmental concerns, reducing reliance on finite resources, and enhancing energy efficiency, the use of Magnesium-based fuel cells could pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future.

For more information on the University of Kerala’s innovative fuel cell technology, visit their official website here.