Microtech 2011

Regenerative Fuel Cell Based on Boron Chemistry for Solar and Wind Power

G.H. Miley, Nie Luo, Kyu-Jung Kim
University of Illinois, US

Keywords: regenerative fuel cell, boron chemistry, energy storage


The economy in the 21st century is heavily dependent on development of green and renewable energy. An energy storage means that is both energetic and economical is urgently needed to support this development. Among many options, all- liquid Regenerative Fuel Cells (RFCs) have the potential of giving reasonable high energy density while maintaining low cost. Our current work focuses on a new type of all liquid RFC based on boron technology for large scale energy storage. It generates a hydrate of boron-hydride in the negative electrode upon the recharge while oxidizing the borate to a perborate at its positive electrode. The perborate is actually a mixture of borate and hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2. H2O2 is well known for its energetics and this is part of the reason why such an RFC has high energy density. The reversed process drives the discharge phase. We have already demonstrated such a storage means in a passive 500W regenerative fuel cell. The typical charge/discharge cycle of such an RFC can be readily designed to fit the intermittent cycles of wind and solar power. The round trip efficiency is 60% or higher, depending on power loading. The energy density in ~ 60-WHr/kg at the current stage but promises to improve with more research and development.

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