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Scientists unveil 'world's first practical artificial leaf'

Leaves – the kind that grow on trees – create energy from sunlight and water through the process of photosynthesis. For over a decade, scientists have been kicking around the idea of creating an "artificial leaf." Such a device would use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which could then be stored in a fuel cell and used to create electricity. A functioning artificial leaf has been created before, but was impractical due to the fact that it was made from expensive materials, and was highly unstable. Now, however, scientists are reporting that they have created a cost-effective, stable artificial leaf.  Read More

Hydrogen has great potential as a clean fuel source for powering our cars and airplanes, but it also poses some big hurdles – in particular, how to store it. Making practical use of hydrogen in gas or liquid form raises difficulties in terms of volume and pressurization – a hydrogen gas tank for a car would need to be around four times larger than current petroleum tanks. Another possible solution is the use of solid state hydrogen and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), along with the University of Glasgow, hope to boost this approach by developing a new storage system using materials modified at the nanoscale that receive and release the hydrogen at a faster rate.  Read More

The VTT solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system prototype is being field tested

VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, is currently field testing a prototype large-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that the organization hopes will provide efficient, cheap grid power from natural gas and biogas. The VTT system is unique in that it uses a single 10 kW planar SOFC stack to produce a year’s worth of electricity for a typical apartment block.  Read More

SiGNa Chemistry and myFC have developed the PowerTrekk, a 2-in-1 portable charging solutio...

Outdoor types who need power for mobile devices away from the grid may find themselves carrying solar chargers or battery packs but, as we reported last year, hydrogen fuel cells offer instant juice benefits and zero degradation. Now, Stockholm's myFC and SiGNa Chemistry have teamed up to launch the PowerTrekk, a pocket-sized, portable charging solution that combines the convenience of a battery pack with the instant power of a hydrogen fuel cell.  Read More

The three B-Class F-CELL EVs that will circumnavigate the globe in the Mercedes-Benz F-CEL...

As the competitors in the Zero Race for EVs get set to cross the finish line at the end of the month, another team will be setting out on their own around the world journey. This time it’s Mercedes-Benz, which is aiming to demonstrate the efficiency and everyday use suitability of fuel cell technology and campaign for the development of a global hydrogen filling station network by circumnavigating the globe with three of its first series-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the B-Class F-CELL.  Read More

Hyundai's Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

While plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt are currently making a play for eco-conscious consumers’ attention, some automobile manufacturers believe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the way of the future as they can be filled-up in minutes as opposed to the hours it takes to recharge EVs. One of the companies set on bringing Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to showrooms is Hyundai, which has just completed development of its Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). Hyundai will begin testing the vehicle next year, with the goal of starting mass production in 2015.  Read More

Skylark I UAV from Elbit Systems flies on AEROPAK fuel cell power in simulated battlefield...

The latest test of Horizon Energy System's AEROPAK fuel cell power system has seen it fitted aboard an Elbit Systems Skylark I-LE UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) and put through its paces. Although the AEROPAK has been put to the test in other UAS aircraft, the official test flight recently carried out in Israel marked the first time a fully operational system using the AEROPAK - including take-off and recovery with an operational payload integrated onboard - has been tested.  Read More

Rendering of the New York Hornblower Hybrid (Image: Statue Cruises)

Hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more commonplace on our roads and now the world's first hydrogen powered hybrid ferry is set to take to the water off New York. Following on from the 2008 launch of the San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid that runs on a combination of solar, wind and diesel power, the new 1,400-hp New York Hornblower Hybrid adds another energy source to the mix with hydrogen fuel cells to complement its clean Tier 2 diesel engines, solar panels and wind turbines.  Read More

Danish company Dantherm Power has announced plans to test and release a highly efficient c...

The Danish company Dantherm Power has recently announced its plans to sell solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) plants as environmentally-friendly power stations for private homes. Even though the project is only in its infantile stages, the company predicts the now bulky prototype will evolve over the next few years as the green alternative to power generators, or act as a buffer for buildings that are powered by renewable but intermittent energy sources such as wind or solar.  Read More

A thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell developed at Harvard (Photo: Shriram Ramanathan)

Reliable, affordable fuel cells have come not one but three steps closer to reality this week, with announcements from two research institutions regarding advances in the field. If the reported developments make their way into production, we could be seeing fuel cells that use more abundant, less expensive fuels and building materials, that are more consistent in their electricity production, and that have a lower operating temperature.  Read More

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