Microtech2010 2010

Regenerative Fuel Cell Energy Storage Technology for use with Renewable Energy Sources

G.H. Miley, N. Luo, K-J Kim
University of Illinois, US

Keywords: energy storage, regenerative fuel cell

Abstract:

Large-scale uses of renewable energy like wind and solar requires efficient and reliable energy storage. However, current batteries employed for this function have a low energy density, poor scalability and high cost. The regenerative fuel cell (RFC) described here is intended to overcome these problems. It stores electricity in chemical energies of high capacity metal hydrides and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), enabling a very high energy density. Prior RFCs using traditional hydrogen/oxygen chemistry have been hampered by grossly inadequate performance of the oxygen electrode due to its irreversibility. Replacing oxygen with the highly reversible H2O2 electrode doubles the round-trip efficiency of an RFC from 30% to over 60%. H2O2 also offers more efficient storage compared to H2 and oxygen gas, matching that of hydrogen in metal hydrides.
 
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