New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Type Being Developed

Bing Energy has announced they are partnering with Florida State University to develop a new form of fuel-cell under an exclusive agreement. Relocating from Chino, California to Tallahassee, Bing is moving their worldwide headquarters to work closely with professor Jim P. Zheng and his patented design, hoping the research will lead to the development of vastly improved hydrogen fuel-cells.

Bing Energy has been involved in the production of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) for years, but it was Zheng’s research with carbon nanotubes that caused the company to reestablish itself on the opposite side of the country. A computer engineer, Zheng has designed a thin membrane of conductive carbon material that could replace, or supplement, costly materials currently used in the production of fuel-cells.

image via msu.edu

One of the biggest drawbacks to hydrogen fuel-cells is that, until now, they use an extremely expensive platinum catalyst. A precious metal commodity, platinum has a variety of applications, almost none of which are cheap enough to be manufactured on large-scale consumer level. Using a carbon-based nanotechnology catalyst, Bing is hoping Zheng and their research team will be able to find a way to remove the amount of platinum needed, and thus decrease production costs.

Building off the research and development of buckypaper, Zheng found that his membrane was highly conductive, enough perhaps to be a main component in future fuel-cells. Bing has yet to gauge the effectiveness of mass production, but has high hopes for the project, expecting a 40% increase in performance, 25% increase in durability, and a significant decrease in overall weight.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.