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: 'Wetting' a battery's appetite for renewable energy storage

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microscopic rowing—without a cox

13 minutes ago

Many different types of cell, including sperm, bacteria and algae, propel themselves using whip-like appendages known as flagella. These protrusions, about one-hundredth of a millimetre long, function like ...

Researcher reveals how amphibians crossed continents

23 minutes ago

There are more than 7,000 known species of amphibians that can be found in nearly every type of ecosystem on six continents. But there have been few attempts to understand exactly when and how frogs, toads, ...

Turning bio-waste into hydrogen

33 minutes ago

Whilst hydrogen cars look set to be the next big thing in an increasingly carbon footprint-aware society, sustainable methods to produce hydrogen are still in their early stages. The HYTIME project is working on a novel production ...

Recommended for you

'Wetting' a battery's appetite for renewable energy storage

2 hours ago

Sun, wind and other renewable energy sources could make up a larger portion of the electricity America consumes if better batteries could be built to store the intermittent energy for cloudy, windless days. Now a new material ...

New system to optimize public lighting power consumption

3 hours ago

In order to meet the efficiency requirements of the latest public lighting regulations, researchers from the School of Industrial Engineers of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with ...

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

Jul 31, 2014

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

Jul 31, 2014

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Simulation models optimize water power

Jul 31, 2014

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation ...

User comments : 1

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.