Fuel Cell Technology is playing an important role in the transition to a greener future. Methanol fuel cells are capable of directly converting high energy density fuel i.e. liquid methanol to electricity.
Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) are alternative energy devices developed in collaboration with the Caltech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Southern California (USC). They can power a wide range of portable and mobile electronics, including notebook computers, mobile phones, military equipment, and other applications developed by electronics OEMs such as Samsung and Toshiba.
A methanol battery or cell is made up of electrochemical reaction catalysts and a special piece of plastic that can conduct protons. The technical term for this special plastic is polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM), and the most common PEM used in DMFCs today is NafionTM, manufactured by Dupont. The most commonly used catalysts are PtRu alloy for the anode and Pt (Platinum) for the cathode.
The fuel is not burned in the fuel cell but rather converted into electricity via an electrochemical process that splits methanol into protons, electrons, and carbon dioxide at the anode and then combines these protons and electrons with oxygen at the cathode to produce water.
With our planet’s future at stake, transitioning to alternative fuels should be one of humanity’s top priorities. Methanol batteries, as they develop, will be an alternative solution in the transition away from fossil fuels and toward a “hydrogen” economy. Because of the numerous environmental issues caused by the use of fossil fuels, many scientists around the world are working to develop efficient alternatives.
Methanol (CH3O3), a type of alcohol, does not require cold storage, has a higher energy density, and is easier and safer to transport. As a result, transitioning to a methanol-based economy is a more attainable goal.
Methanol is a cheap and easily accessible fuel. It is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative renewable fuel that should be welcomed with open arms. Since Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs) have a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, they could be used to power portable devices like laptops and smartphones.
Though hydrogen fuel cells have received a lot of attention, the reality is that transporting, storing, and using pure hydrogen comes at a high cost, making this process difficult with currently available technology. Therefore, domestic batteries used to power consumer electronics are here to stay till these challenges are overcome.
Improper disposal of used domestic batteries is one of the leading hazards to our environment. Organizations and campaigns such as Recycle My Battery have pledged to make the Earth a better place by making battery recycling easier. All you need to do is to dispose of different types of batteries in appropriate recycling facilities, hazardous waste facilities, or at designated drop-off sites in your community, and Recycle My Battery will take care of the rest of the recycling process.
Author: Dev Shaurya Dosapati
PC: The Eco Experts