The University of Waterloo of Canada has unveiled a brand new fuel cell, boasting a life 10 times that of existing battery, suited to application in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), even with the possibility of replacing internal-combustion engine now in use eventually.
Fuel cell has been acclaimed highly on the market, as it generates power via the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, which only produces water, and is applied in PHEV for supplying power and motive force during low-speed driving before switch to internal combustion mode after the driver stepping on throttle to accelerate speed. The emission of greenhouse gases is relatively low.
Led by Xianguo Li, professor in mechanical and mechatronics engineering, the research team of the University of Waterloo manages to have fuel cell attain stable power output, instead of original fluctuating output, thereby shortening the time for mode switch and lengthening fuel-cell life.
Vehicle with the brand new fuel cell in experiment and the fuel cell (source: the University of Waterloo)
Experiment with vehicle embedded with the new fuel cell shows that endurance of the new fuel cell is 11.8, 4.8, and 6.9 times, respectively, than the original one for driving in urban area, freeway, and expressway, according to the paper published in "Applied Energy." Prof. Li pointed out that the new technology can facilitate massive production of low-cost fuel cells, making it possible for the fuel cell to substitute for internal combustion engine entirely.
(First photo courtesy of John Eckman via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)