The impending energy crisis and global warming warrant the need for eco-friendly sources of energy. Non-conventional, carbon-neutral sources of energy such as solar, wind, biomass and nuclear energy are being explored and exploited to a considerable extent. At this juncture, when the atmosphere is laden with greenhouse-gases, we can least afford to release stored carbon. The following article gives an account of the basic principles involved in the functioning of Microbial Fuel Cells and the major applications of Microbial Fuel Cell technology, as it stands today.
Fuel cells are already powering hundreds of installations world-wide from cell phone towers to large scale facilities. In the United States fuel cells are providing low-carbon electricity to businesses such as Whole Foods grocery stores in New England and Sierra Nevada's brewery in California. Fuel cell power systems can also be used to generate power in your home.
Fuel cells have the potential to dramatically change how the military carries out its missions, and how soldiers operate in the field. With the largest, most technologically advanced military in the world, the U.S. armed services use an immense amount of fuel and electricity, and any use of alternative energy would have positive effects on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, fuel cells are of particular interest to the military not for their environmental savings, but because of unique technical features that can aid soldiers in the field.
Over here in the United States, UTC Power has racked up several significant high profile fuel cell installations with more coming down the pipeline.
Ford, Bell, Edison and the Wright Brothers would not be allowed to create their innovations today. Their businesses started too small; their ideas were "unproven." Issues with permits, insurance, rights of way would have killed their ingenuity. In a free market, ingenuity has a small chance of churning into commercial success. In a planned economy ingenuity is doomed.
There are fuel cells installed in stationary applications all over the world, in a wide variety of locations, including hotels, hospitals, schools, telecommunications towers, breweries and in some parts of the world, notably Japan, in houses and apartment complexes.
A study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory concludes that with targeted deployment policies, focusing first on New York City and Los Angeles, fuel cell vehicles could achieve 50 percent market share by 2030.
Among various processes of electricity generation, microbial technique is one of the promising avenues as it does not emit any green house gases. MFC does not contain any rotating parts so it gives continuous electricity without mechanical damage of the equipment and its maintenance cost is minimal.
Phoenix funding is employed in the basic photoelectrochemical design of innovative, complex "molecular machines" that can split water into its hydrogen and oxygen components by harnessing energy sourced from the complete solar light spectrum.
Among the different types of fuel cells, the PEMFC is more advantageous because of its operation condition. To satisfy the world energy thirst an integrated hydrogen production system and utilization unit must be developed.
Here are some developments in the Fuel Cell Industry provided for us by FuelCells.org
A new report from Fuel Cells 2000, "The Business Case for Fuel Cells: Why Top Companies are Purchasing Fuel Cells Today", highlights 38 nationally recognized companies that are installing fuel cells.
The direct methanol fuel cell or DMFC is emerging as a future winner in many of the applications that fuel cells can satisfy. DMFC is an important subset of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology.
There are several other fuel cells in the research labs and in development today. With this wide array of technologies and the myriad of applications, fuel cells are poised to revolutionize the way we think about and use energy today and in the future.
Below is an extract from "Introduction to Hydrogen and Fuel Cells", online educational material about Hydrogen and Fuel Cell technology designed for teachers and students at ages of 13-16 years old.
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Developed in 2017, the STI-H250™ is consists of two linked torsion beams that rotate simultaneously following the sun's path. They are moved by just one motor, cutting supply and maintenance costs. STI-H250™ dual-row tracker includes backtracking mode to avoid shadowing between adjacent rows and stow function to protect the tracker in extreme wind conditions. For cleaning, vehicles can pass between trackers and each row can be placed in a different position.