June 3, 2013 23:34 by Jeff
With the technology of today it is possible to use environmentally friendly formic acid in fuel cells, and soon you may be able to use this technology to power your mobile phone or laptop. Physicist Florian Nitze of Umeå University in Sweden has written his thesis about catalysts to improve the capacity of these fuel cells so they can have greater application in consumer electronics and other areas.
Fuel cells are different from batteries in that they require a constant source of fuel and oxygen to run. The technology is already commercially available but formic acid fuel cells still suffer from low power and lifetime which makes it a challenge today for high energy consumption electronics. The effect of a catalyst is to reduce the energy loss and to increase the rate of the chemical reactions, which leads to a higher efficiency in the fuel cell. In his thesis, Nitze has developed new catalysts based on a combination of material science and nanotechnology - engineering close to the atom level.
Several of the new catalysts that Nitze has developed are based on palladium. It is a noble metal such as gold or platinum, but it is half as expensive. Formic acid can be produced from renewable sources such as wood, and is therefore an environmentally friendly alternative. "One of the major advantages over Li-ion batteries, which are dominating the battery market, is that the charging only takes seconds by simple refueling with formic acid," says Nitze. The working principle of a fuel cell: If hydrogen and oxygen (but equally valid for formic acid and oxygen) get in contact, they can burn and release a lot of energy. In this process hydrogen gives electrons to oxygen, it is oxidized, and oxygen takes electrons from hydrogen.
June 8, 2010 20:06 by Jeff
Summer is almost here and would be a great time to check your UPS battery backup units and power surge strips to make sure you are ready for a rolling blackout, brownout, or power spike / surges. If you find that your Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit is dead or showing a battery failure light, don't throw it away in the trash. Most of the UPS devices out on the market today have replaceable batteries and is more cost effective than buying a brand new unit. You can check for a replacement UPS battery in our eBatts.com database.
When everybody is running their air conditioners at work or home, it is not uncommon to see a rolling blackout or brownout hit on really hot days. By having a UPS battery backup, you can protect your computers, TV electronics, home entertainment systems and other expensive hardware that are easily susceptible to getting damaged during a brownout / blackout. Power surge protectors only protect electronics from a power spike and can still get damaged if complete power is lost during a blackout. This is why we recommend using a UPS battery backup unit.
If you are not sure what the difference is between a blackout, brownout or power surge we have put a definition list below.
Blackout: A blackout is from a complete loss of utility power from the power grid.
- Crashes computer and electronic devices.
- Data Loss.
- Can damage hardware from immediate shutdown.
- Restored power can cause a Power Surge and further damage electronics.
Brownout: A brownout is a decrease in voltage drop from utility power. This is caused by a very high demand on the power grid.
- Damages hardware.
- Data loss.
- Crashes computers and electronic devices.
Power Surge / Power Spike: An increase in voltage from utility power. Lightning strikes are an example of causing this.
- Damages power supplies in computers and shorts out electronic devices.
- Causes corrupt data on computers.