Hydrogen fuel cells have been in limited commercial use for decades, but their wide adoption has been hampered by high costs and technical issues.
Now a University of Arizona professor is working to commercialize a new type of polymer electrolyte fuel cell that can operate at high temperature without the need for water.
Dominic Gervasio, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, is working with Tech Launch Arizona, the UA’s technology commercialization arm, to patent and potentially license the technology.
Fuel cells generate electricity via a chemical reaction using hydrogen. They consist of plates of various materials that create the reaction.
The new fuel-cell technology could be used in autos, or for remote or emergency power generation, but one of the chief beneficiaries is expected be the aircraft industry, where limiting size and weight is crucial, Gervasio said.
“The people in the aerospace industry want these fuel cells to improve the efficiency of their aircraft,” said Gervasio.