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: Battery system will be able to light 2,500 homes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Modified algae enzymes enable efficient hydrogen production

Sep 25, 2014

(Phys.org) —Hydrogen as a regenerative fuel produced in gigantic water tanks full of algae, which need nothing more than sunlight to produce the promising green energy carrier: a great idea in theory, but one that fails ...

Global solar flight to start, end in Abu Dhabi

Sep 25, 2014

A Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft is planned to start and finish its first round-the-world flight from the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, a government-backed renewable energy company in the ...

Blackout? Robots to the Rescue

Sep 25, 2014

(Phys.org) —Big disasters almost always result in big power failures. Not only do they take down the TV and fridge, they also wreak havoc with key infrastructure like cell towers. That can delay search ...

Recommended for you

First self-contained step dimming LED tube

15 hours ago

Samsung Electronics today introduced the industry's first AC Direct step-dimming LED linear replacement for T8 and T12 fluorescent tubes at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Convention ...

Battery system will be able to light 2,500 homes

15 hours ago

One of the largest, most environmentally-friendly, battery-based energy storage systems in the nation will be installed at the University of California, San Diego the campus announced today (Sept. 29).

NREL software tool a boon for wind industry

18 hours ago

Wind energy is blowing away skeptics—it's so close to achieving cost parity with fossil fuels that just a little extra efficiency is all that is likely needed to push it into the mainstream and past the ...

Harvesting energy from walking

18 hours ago

A device that fits into a shoe harvests the energy made by walking and successfully uses it in watch batteries.

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.