Fuel cells are promising power sources for electric vehicles and do not suffer from the inherent limitations of efficiency, energy density, and lifetime, as encountered with all types of batteries considered for this application. The projected performance of fuel-cell vehicles is comparable to that of the internal combustion and diesel engine vehicles but with the additional advantages of higher fuel efficiency, particularly with synfuels from coal. The ideal fuel for a fuel-cell power plant for electric vehicles is methanol. This fuel is reformed to hydrogen, which combines with oxygen from the air in an acid electrolyte (phosphoric, solid polymer, or superacid) fuel cell to produce electricity. Though the phosphoric acid fuel cell is in the most advanced state of development (mainly for power generation applications), the solid polymer and superacid electrolyte fuel cells are more promising for the transportation application because of the faster oxygen reduction kinetics (and hence potential for higher power densities) and shorter start-up times. Alkaline electrolyte fuel cells can be used only with pure hydrogen which causes a weight or energy penality for any of the methods it can be carried on board the vehicle), but have the best potential for minimizing or eliminating noble metal requirements. The paper summarizes needed areas of research (i.e. reduction or elimination of noble metal loading, finding CO-tolerant electrocatalysts, finding less expensive solid polymer electrolytes, synthesis and elucidation of higher molecular weight superacids) to advance fuel-cell technology for vehicular applications.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pergamon Press, Incorporated

    Headington Hill Hall
    Oxford OX30BW,    
  • Authors:
    • Gonzalez, E R
    • Srinivasan, S
  • Publication Date: 1984

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00396533
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1985 12:00AM