Monday, April 04, 2005

Another Fuel Cell

I still find the idea of carbon dioxide reduction as a means for storing energy intriguing, for at least two reasons. First, I remain unconvinced hydrogen storage will get cheap and efficient any time soon, especially with large amounts of government subsidy involved in the research. Second, the energy density of gasoline is still hugely higher than that of any battery now or shortly to be in production. As an example of this, in the comments of a recent post on Alternative Energy Blog, commenter Josh calculates the energy density of the recently announced Toshiba Li-Ion battery as 262 Wh/l. Gasoline, by contrast, is typically 8.76 kWh/l, over an order of magnitude better (and nearly two).

I recently wrote about a membraneless fuel cell; via FuturePundit, a solid oxide fuel cell that runs on iso-octane, a pure form of gasoline, typically synthesized. The comments are worth reading as well; skepticism about these devices as a useful replacement for the internal combustion engine would seem well-founded.