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Integrated Energy

$1 plastic grid makes fuel cells more efficient

Using a plastic grid can increase the energy efficiency of an air-cooled fuel cell stack by around 30%. This is the result of research conducted at the Danish University of Aalborg.

11 May. 2018
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$1 plastic grid makes fuel cells more efficient (Photo: Department of Energy Technology at Aalborg University)

With a plastic grid measuring around 16 × 16 cm, which could be produced for less than 1 US dollar, researchers at the University of Aalborg have circulated airflow to cool a fuel cell stack. In various tests, the result was an increase of at least 33.5%. While earlier tests focused on keeping the airflow as even as possible, now, turbulences make for better heat dissipation and thus an optimized energy yield. The plastic grids are referred to as “TurbuGrid” and researchers expect even greater gains in efficiency in new fuel cells. More efficient cooling will also help extend the service life of the cells.

Hydrogen is considered one of the most important sources of energy for the future . With the growing importance of electromobility, the research involving energy production using fuel cells could also pick up pace. Many experts believe that electric vehicles obtaining their energy from fuel cells, and thus fuel with hydrogen instead of requiring a charging station, present the better alternative to help break free from fossil fuels.