Sharp Achieves the World’s Highest Power Density for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

May 15, 2008

Sharp Corp. has achieved the world's highest power density, 0.3W/cc, for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) for mobile equipment. This new technology enables efficient power generation from a small cell volume. The use of this technology can make it possible to develop fuel cells that have almost the same volume but a longer continuous-use lifespan than lithium-ion batteries, which are the main type currently in use.

Because fuel cells use energy produced by the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, they have a small impact on the global environment. Also, fuel cells are expected to become the next-generation power generating devices because of their high generating efficiency that comes from converting chemical energy directly into electrical energy.

In particular, DMFC have a simple structure in which power is generated through a chemical reaction between methanol supplied directly to the power generation part and oxygen in the air, making them suitable for miniaturization.

Therefore, since these fuel cells have great potential for future use in mobile equipment, active research and development on DMFC is intensifying all over the world. However, there are some problems that need to be solved, such as their low power density that increases the size of the power generation part and, as a result, increases the total cell volume.

Giving special attention to the power generation part’s stack structure, Sharp has developed the three-dimensional highly integrated stack structure through the use of thin cells made by microfabrication. This structure can be created by the alternate lamination of reed-shaped thin cells arranged in parallel at fixed intervals and reed-shaped (porous) spacers, with the cells and spacers running perpendicular to each other like a grid.

With this structure, uniform and continuous spaces are secured, making it possible to increase the cell surface area per unit volume and smoothly circulate the air that is one of the sources for power generation. Thus, Sharp has improved power density per unit volume and achieved the world's highest level, 0.3W/cc (about 7 times greater than previous Sharp technology).

In the future, through continuing to pursue the development of this elemental technology, cell volume can be further miniaturized, and the creation of cells with the same volume but a longer lifespan than the currently mainstream lithium-ion batteries can be achieved. By further promoting this elemental technology in the future, Sharp will commit itself to the creation of small fuel cells with a long lifespan.

Source: Sharp

Explore further: Closer look at life-cycle impacts of lithium-ion batteries and proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Related Stories

Researchers building flow battery prototype to augment grid

December 8, 2016

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are scaling up a prototype iron-flow battery to provide cleaner and cheaper power when renewable energy sources are ebbing or demand is peaking. The battery would also efficiently ...

Recommended for you

Samsung to disable Note 7 phones in recall effort

December 9, 2016

Samsung announced Friday it would disable its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US market to force remaining owners to stop using the devices, which were recalled for safety reasons.

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Zig158
not rated yet May 17, 2008
I'm looking forward to a 12-hour laptop "battery" life.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.