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Energy Efficiency

AIST Introduces Sugar Cube-Sized Fuel Cell

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) recently developed a surprisingly attractive solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The sugar cube-sized SOFC, which is made up of 25 needle-like modules measuring 0.8 mm, packs a serious punch due to a high ratio of electrode area to volume. And since small size means a small heat capacity, the module also has a low operating temperature.

While other SOFC’s operate between 700 and 1,000° C, AIST’s module works at only 500° C. The fuel cell’s low absolute value of thermal expansion also means a quick start-up time of five minutes or less.

The new SOFC will likely be used by automotive CPUs, but could one day provide power to fuel cell vehicles. AIST’s mini-fuel cell is currently on display at the 2009 International Nanotechnology Exhibition and Conference in Tokyo, Japan.

Photo Credit: TechOn!


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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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