The micro-fuel cell is like the cell of any living thing: Input fuel is a hydrocarbon that is broken down catalytically, producing energy and harmless “waste” products of heat, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. The collection and energy distribution scheme of this micro-fuel cell system can be likened to the capillaries and veins in an animal.
A fuel cell operates like a battery in principle, producing electricity by electrochemically combining hydrogen and oxygen without combustion. Unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not run down as long as fuel is supplied. The Micro Fuel Cell™ from Energy Related Devices is fueled by methanol or ethanol and is constructed with multiple layers of thin films. The alcohol side of the film contains a catalyst that breaks the alcohol down into hydrogen ions and carbon dioxide. This generates a negative electrical potential on the alcohol electrode. The hydrogen ions move through the film to the oxygen electrode on the air side of the cell. The hydrogen ions combine with oxygen from the air to produce water vapor. This produces a positive charge on the oxygen electrode. The oxygen and alcohol electrodes form the positive and negative terminals of the fuel cell; this is equivalent to the positive and negative terminals on a conventional battery.
Can be manufactured inexpensively using a printing process similar to the manufacture of computer chips
Environmentally responsible energy source that is non-polluting and does not involve the use of toxic chemicals
Instant refuel with methanol or ethanol, a safe, low-flammability, inexpensive, renewable, plant-based energy source
“Always On” power source
Lightweight, compact size
20 year estimated shelf-life
The solar cell mimics the effect of water droplets on a leaf in bright sunshine. The droplets concentrate light many times but the leaf does not catch fire or burn because the small focal spots disperse the heat. This same principal is the basis of a solar cell design that disperses the heat from an array of micro mirrors to concentrate light into semiconductor material without creating a damaging rise in temperature.
The fundamental concept is that the optimum solar cell system can be achieved by forming an array of micro concentrating cells. The efficiency and cost can be optimized to match the application. US Patent “Micro Mirror Photovoltaic Cells” January 9, 1996.
Reduction in Solar Cell weight
Reduction in manufacturing costs
Black Tip is a simple addition to existing and future solar cells that is easily installed and inexpensive to create. It is basically a thin metal panel that is shaped into fin like contours, which allow air to travel through, and cool the back of the solar panel it is attached to. And unlike conventional heat sinks, it does not damage the existing solar panel.
With this simple additions to the solar arrays we can make sure they maintain their performance even as the day’s heat progresses. Solar arrays experience a precious loss of performance throughout the day up to 15 %! But with this addition of the black tip heat sink, you can get some of that 15% back with only a small fraction (1-2%) of the initial costs of the solar array!
Extended solar panel lifetime
Reduction in cost of energy from 13-14%
Increased efficiency with no damage to solar panels