Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Direct methanol fuel cells could power portable devices

By: Dennis Ndaba
Published: 14 Nov 08 - 0:00
Fuel cells can contribute to energy security, because they possess the potential to convert potentially renewable fuels, such as hydrogen, methanol or ethanol, cleanly and efficiently into electrical energy, says the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) Mark Rohwer.
They are of particular interest to South Africa, as they incorporate catalytic metals, like platinum, of which three-quarters of the world’s known reserves are found in South Africa.
A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy. In contrast, conventional production of electricity from fossil fuels involves conversion of the chemical energy in the fuel into thermal energy, then kinetic energy and finally into electrical energy.

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