Fuel Cells with Dynamic Response Capability
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is developing a low-cost, intermediate-temperature fuel cell that will also function like a battery to increase load-following capability. The fuel cell will use new metal-oxide electrode materials—inspired by the proton channels found in biological systems—that offer superior energy storage capacity and cycling stability, making it ideal for distributed generation systems. UCLA’s new materials also have high catalytic activity, which will lower the cost of the overall system. Success of this project will enable a rapid commercialization of multi-functional fuel cells for broad applications where reliable distributed generations are needed.
If successful, UCLA’s intermediate-temperature fuel cell will offer battery-like functionality that could last for over 1000 cycles and response times under 1 second.
Enabling more efficient use of natural gas for power generation provides a reliable alternative to other fuel sources—a broader fuel portfolio means more energy security.
Natural gas produces roughly half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to existing sources of power generation.
Distributed generation technologies would reduce costs associated with power losses compared to centralized power stations and provide lower operating costs due to peak shaving.