Energy Materials and Fuel cells
In the search for alternative energy sources, we need to make new discoveries in materials science. We need catalysts to convert feedstocks into fuels, new architectures for better solar cells and materials for advanced energy storage, including lithium batteries. New high-tech materials are key to breakthroughs in biology, the environment, nuclear energy, transportation and national security. Energy Materials is making revolutionary advances in the science of materials discovery and synthesis. Our ultimate goal is to be able to design new materials with useful properties—one atom at a time. Whereas the 19th century was the century of the steam engine and the 20th century was the century of the internal combustion engine, it is likely that the 21st century will be the century of the fuel cell. Fuel cells are now on the verge of being introduced commercially, revolutionizing the way we presently produce power. Fuel cells can use hydrogen as a fuel, offering the prospect of supplying the world with clean, sustainable electrical power. This Track discusses the history of fuel cells, fuel cells for NASA, alkaline fuel cells for terrestrial applications and PEM fuel cells. Fuel cell applications in transportation, distributed power generation, residential and portable power are discussed. The science of the PEM fuel cell and the direct methanol fuel cell will be discussed.