The future of battery technology now lies in the concept of fuel cells. A fuel cell, like a battery is an electrochemical cell. It has an anode and a cathode, and an oxidation reaction and a reduction reaction occur, however the electrodes act as catalysts, and are not used up in these reactions. Instead, the reactions take place within a “fuel,” which provides the source for the electrons. This is a very efficient method of producing electricity (up to 85% efficient – that’s over three times as efficient as an internal combustion engine.) They are also very environmentally friendly – the most environmentally friendly cells produce only water and heat. At the moment the only disadvantage is that they are very costly, however it is very likely that in the future fuel cells will be the power source of choice for many applications.
For more information on Fuel cells, see the Fuel Cells TLP.
- High Density Energy Lithium Batteries; KE Aifantis, SA Hackney and RV Kumar (Editors), Wiley-VCH Verlag, 2010