A new type of “lung” created by researchers at Stanford University, give out hydrogen fuel when water is given as input — a clean source of energy that could one day power everything from our cars to our smartphones.
This device mimics a human lung. Human lungs move gas through a thin membrane, extracting oxygen and sending it into our blood stream. Now a device uses the same principle to power the reactions used for making hydrogen fuel.
The Stanford researchers’ lung is essentially a pouch created out of a thick plastic film. Tiny water-repelling pores cover the exterior of the pouch, while gold and platinum nanoparticles line its interior.
By placing the pouch in water and applying voltage, the researchers were able to compel the device to create energy at an efficiency 32 percent higher than if they laid the film flat.
They claim this is because the lung-like shape did a better job than other fuel cell designs of minimizing the bubbles that can form — and hurt efficiency — during the energy-generation process.
The team will now focus on scaling-up its design and finding a way to get it to tolerate higher temperatures — right now, it doesn’t work above 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), which could be a problem for commercial applications.
Reference- Futurism, NewScientist