Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vegetable Oil Fuel Cell

Another good catch by Richard Stuebl over at the Cleantech Blog.

It had to happen. The hydrogen crowd is crashing the biofuel party. Its good to see as this party is alot more fun anyways. Fewer PhD's and more entrepreneurs makes for a sector that steps hard and pushes envelopes.

Technology Management (a.k.a. TMI) demonstrates first-ever use of vegetable oil in solid oxide fuel cell.
See picture to the right.

This same fuel cell has also ran on diesel, propane, natural gas, and JP8 jet fuel (which is also cross listed as Jet A, No. 1 Diesel, or K1 Kerosene in many parts of the world). Logically I would assume this means their fuel cell can also run unrefined petroleum distillates and I'd even bet unpolished glycerin.

This is another one of those small scale distributive technologies. Or in a nutshell described simply as expensive and small scale. Small scale works though in remote energy production from multiple sources of liquid fuel. Hence distributed, away from large power generation infrastructure.

There has been a real cross over the last year of technologies that were in development during the age of sub-$40 a barrel petroleum. These already promising technologies making the necessary flexibility to include biofuels (the hot energy of today).

Funny how the very technologies that were oh-so sexy when hydrogen was the future pick up the ability to use other fuels the moment the grant money requires something other than hydrogen.

More about the fuel cell technology at FMI's site as well as a good history of their financial support from grants at FMI's news site.

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