Through improvements to the MEA (membrane electrode assembly) and the separator flow path, Nissan engineers have significantly improved the power density of its newest generation fuel cell stack by 2.5 times greater than its 2005 model. The result, according to the company, is considered a world's best (among automakers) of 2.5 kW/L. The 2011 model fuel cell stack features integration of the MEA with the MEA supporting frame via molding. This provides for single-row lamination of the fuel cell, reducing its overall size by more than half compared to conventional models. Also realized in the development process was a one-quarter reduction in both parts variation and platinum usage. These improvements helped reduce overall cost of the fuel cell stack to one-sixth that of the 2005 model.
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DOE-funded research effort aims to develop more affordable, high-strength lightweight steels. The Colorado School of Mines and the Los Alamos National Laboratory research team will pursue the quenching and partitioning (Q&P) processing method to achieve the desired material capabilities.
Engineers have demonstrated motorized vehicles that run on natural gas, pure hydrogen, biofuels, and electrons. By 2035, if present trends hold, vehicles using these alternative fuels will remain a tiny fraction of vehicles on the road. What could change in the next few years to drive adoption of one or more alternative fuels?
The U.S. Department of Energy recently opened what it describes as a "one-of-a-kind national secure data center" at its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO. The National Fuel Cell Technology Evaluation Center (NFCTEC) allows industry, academia, and government organizations to submit and review data gathered from projects to advance cost-effective fuel-cell technology.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new oxygen "sponge" that can easily absorb or shed oxygen atoms at low temperatures. Materials with these novel characteristics would be useful in devices such as rechargeable batteries, sensors, gas converters, and fuel cells.