WORCESTER – A new liquid metal membrane developed by a scientist at Worcester Polytechnic Institute could make the hydrogen purification process cheaper, simpler, and replicable on a smaller scale. It could also change the car you drive.
“The development of liquid metal membranes allows us to overcome one of the key stumbling blocks in widespread usage of fuel cell automobiles,” said Ravindra Datta, professor of chemical engineering and director of the Fuel Cell Center at WPI. “The membrane allows hydrogen fuel to be more widely produced and available at hydrogen refilling stations to power the fuel-cell cars.”
Hydrogen fuel cells are like mini power plants that strip electrons off hydrogen – the most abundant element in the universe – to produce electricity. This electricity can in turn be used to drive an electric car. The technology is up to 30 percent more efficient than an internal combustion engine, Mr. Datta said.