December 16, 2008 / 4:28 AM / 9 years ago

China experts devise cheaper electricity cells

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Scientists in China have devised a fuel cell using alkaline membranes, which can potentially bring down the cost of manufacturing because less expensive metals would be needed.

Fuel cells are devices that produce electricity from fuel and nearly all of them use membranes that are acidic. But this means they come with associated parts made of platinum or other rare and expensive metals.

In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Lin Zhuang and his colleagues at Wuhan University’s chemistry department said they successfully made a membrane that used silver and nickel.

“Although the power output of the prototype is modest, the researchers see it as the first step in a new generation of low-cost fuel cells,” they said in a statement.

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