Micropower chemical fuel-to-electric conversion : a "regenerative flip" hydrogen concentration cell promising near carnot efficiency.

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Although battery technology is relatively mature, power sources continue to impose serious limitations for small, portable, mobile, or remote applications. A potentially attractive alternative to batteries is chemical fuel-to-electric conversion. Chemical fuels have volumetric energy densities 4 to 10 times those of batteries. However, realizing this advantage requires efficient chemical fuel-to-electric conversion. Direct electrochemical conversion would be the ideal, but, for most fuels, is generally not within the state-of-the-science. Next best, chemical-to-thermal-to-electric conversion can be attractive if efficiencies can be kept high. This small investigative project was an exploration into the feasibility of a novel hybrid (i.e., thermal-electrochemical) micropower converter ... continued below

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27 p.

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Wally, Karl May 1, 2006.

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Although battery technology is relatively mature, power sources continue to impose serious limitations for small, portable, mobile, or remote applications. A potentially attractive alternative to batteries is chemical fuel-to-electric conversion. Chemical fuels have volumetric energy densities 4 to 10 times those of batteries. However, realizing this advantage requires efficient chemical fuel-to-electric conversion. Direct electrochemical conversion would be the ideal, but, for most fuels, is generally not within the state-of-the-science. Next best, chemical-to-thermal-to-electric conversion can be attractive if efficiencies can be kept high. This small investigative project was an exploration into the feasibility of a novel hybrid (i.e., thermal-electrochemical) micropower converter of high theoretical performance whose demonstration was thought to be within near-term reach. The system is comprised of a hydrogen concentration electrochemical cell with physically identical hydrogen electrodes as anode and cathode, with each electrode connected to physically identical hydride beds each containing the same low-enthalpy-of-formation metal hydride. In operation, electrical power is generated by a hydrogen concentration differential across the electrochemical cell. This differential is established via coordinated heating and passive cooling of the corresponding hydride source and sink. Heating is provided by the exothermic combustion (i.e., either flame combustion or catalytic combustion) of a chemical fuel. Upon hydride source depletion, the role of source and sink are reversed, heating and cooling reversed, electrodes commutatively reversed, cell operation reversed, while power delivery continues unchanged. This 'regenerative flip' of source and sink hydride beds can be cycled continuously until all available heating fuel is consumed. Electricity is efficiently generated electrochemically, but hydrogen is not consumed, rather the hydrogen is regeneratively cycled as an electrochemical 'working fluid'.

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27 p.

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  • Report No.: SAND2006-3533
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • DOI: 10.2172/966250 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 966250
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc931624

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • May 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 1:26 p.m.

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Wally, Karl. Micropower chemical fuel-to-electric conversion : a "regenerative flip" hydrogen concentration cell promising near carnot efficiency., report, May 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931624/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.