Re: Fuel cells (was Re: jeff's cyborg cells)

Eugene Leitl (
Wed, 2 Jun 1999 22:18:35 -0700 (PDT)

Chuck Kuecker writes:

> Thank you. Although the links still seem to be talking 'reforming' rather
> than using the methane directly. I guess reforming methane loses much less

You can use methanol directly in low-temperature fuel cells. Methane, you can't. You can metabolize methane directly in high temperature fuel cells though, the additional advantantage being that you can then use nickel for electrodes. If fuel cells catch on, Pt/Pd prices are going to skyrocket...

> energy than, say, reforming gasoline. We are getting there, little by little.

The chiefest problem with reforming higher alcanes is a) the surface of the reforming catalysator gets mucked up progressively b) it's difficult to keep the CO content low (it should be present as traces only), and CO poisons the Pt/Pd electrode surface at the temperatures used (you're limited by the polymer electrolyt here).