We've heard that ethanol is the worst kind of renewable energy. Is it a good idea to use it in hydrogen fuel cells? Over at the University of New Mexico, a team of researchers led by Associate Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Plamen Atanassov (pictured) is trying to figure out the answer to that question by starting an ethanol/hydrogen fuel cell research team. The Department of Energy is funding the program with an annual grant of $750,000 for up to six years through EPSCoR.
The basic concept is to see if ethanol can be reformed to make hydrogen, which will then turn around and be used in a fuel cell. If successful, the next stage will be to see if direct electrochemical oxidation of the ethanol can be achieved. While we're at least slightly interested to see if this could one day be used to power a car, Atanassov has got even bigger smaller dreams. He's talking about cell phones powered by an ethanol fuel cell. Wow.

[Source: UNM via Domestic Fuel]

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