Moscow: An international group of scientists from Russia, France and Germany has developed a novel method to make cleaner fuel cells.
The "ion-exchange synthetic membranes" method is based on specific compounds that are able to convert the energy of chemical reactions into electrical current.
Apart from fuel cells, the new development can also be used in the separation and purification processes, said the scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and other institutions.
The fuel cells consist of separate galvanic cells and their closest relatives are batteries (primary cells) and accumulators (secondary cells).
They use the same fuel that can be burned in conventional internal combustion engines producing the same basic products -- water vapour in the case of hydrogen and water vapour with carbon dioxide in the case of organic fuel.
However, compared to a traditional engine, a fuel cell has at least two advantages.
First, the process takes place at a lower temperature without a number of harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides.
Secondly, fuel cells can have a much higher level of efficiency.
"In a number of technological applications, fuel cells stand a good chance of replacing internal combustion engines at least," the authors noted.
According to the authors, fuel cells themselves will not solve the problem of rising temperatures on the planet.
"But they are part of a possible solution and can be considered a part of the global task," the authors concluded in a paper appeared in the journal Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics.