The goal is to bring micro fuel cells closer to reality using fuels such as glucose, methanol, and hydrogen.
The Sandia Polymer Electrolyte Alternative (SPEA) operates as high as 140°C and produces peak power of 1.1 W/cm 2 at 2 A/cm 2 at 80°C. Under identical operating conditions, the SPEA material puts out more power with methanol and hydrogen than does Nafion, the state-of-art PEM material for fuel cells. This suggests the Sandia material may be a potential alternative to Nafion.
There are several advantages with the SPEA material operating at high temperatures. It makes possible smaller fuel-cell stacks thanks to better heat rejection, enhanced water management, and its significant resistance to carbon-monoxide poisoning.
Researchers are now trying to reduce the internal resistance of the fuel-cellmembrane electrode assembly. SPEA fuel cells may see use in sensors, cell phones, laptops, and automobiles.