Patent number 8785076 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device that utilizes the reaction of fuel and oxygen to produce electricity. Fuel cells operate continuously as long as fuel is present. When hydrogen is used as the fuel, the only by-product is water vapor. The conversion reaction of the fuel cell occurs electrochemically and the energy is released as a combination of electrical energy and heat. The electrical energy can do useful work directly, while the heat can be dispersed.
"Portable electrical devices, such as cellular phones and laptop computers (among others), demand a significant amount of electricity to operate. The primary and optionally secondary batteries that currently provide power to these devices are reaching performance limitations. As such, it is likely that battery sources may not be able to provide the necessary power to future portable devices, which will likely require even greater electrical power needs. Fuel cells are a viable alternative power source to traditional batteries, but are currently limited by their relatively large size, low energy density levels and insufficient power output. These drawbacks of current fuel cells are the result of, among other things, the awkward integration of current fuel cell components and positioning requirements in electrical devices.
"It is with this recognition of the foregoing state of the technology that the present subject matter providing a portable fuel cell system that is able to maintain a high energy density and provide sufficient power output within an all-inclusive system has been conceived and is now set forth in the text and drawings associated with this patent document."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the present subject relate to a fuel cell system. In one example, the fuel cell system includes at least one fuel cell or fuel cell layer including an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte interposed therebetween; a fuel or a fuel storage material; a fuel reservoir including at least one surface positioned adjacent a first portion of the at least one fuel cell or fuel cell layer in which the fuel reservoir is configured to store the fuel or the fuel storage material; a current collecting circuit contacting a second portion of the at least one fuel cell or fuel cell layer in which the current collecting circuit is configured to receive and distribute current generated by the fuel cell or fuel cell layer; and a fuel plenum interposed between the at least one reservoir surface and the first portion of the at least one fuel cell or fuel cell layer.
"In another example, the fuel cell system includes a fuel reservoir; a system cover; an enclosed region; and at least one fuel cell. The fuel reservoir is configured to store fuel or a fuel storage material. The system cover is configured to be attachable with the fuel reservoir, thereby forming an enclosed region therein. The at least one fuel cell includes one or more flexible walls comprising an anode or a cathode of the fuel cell. The flexible walls are structurally arranged to form a fuel plenum and are supported, when pressurized, by a portion of one or both of the fuel reservoir or the system cover.
"Embodiments of the present subject matter also relate to methods of fabricating a fuel cell system. One method includes forming a fuel cell or a fuel cell layer; coupling a fuel reservoir with a first portion of the fuel cell or fuel cell layer such that a fuel plenum is formed therebetween; disposing a current collecting circuit adjacent to a second portion of the fuel cell or fuel cell layer; disposing a system cover having at least one air access port over one or more of the current collecting circuit, the fuel cell or fuel cell layer, or a portion of the fuel reservoir, including positioning the at least one air access port near the second portion of the fuel cell or the fuel cell layer; and coupling the system cover with the fuel reservoir.
"Another method includes forming a fuel reservoir configured to store fuel therein; forming a system cover; coupling the system cover with a portion of the fuel reservoir including forming an enclosed region; and disposing at least one fuel cell in the enclosed region including arranging one or more flexible fuel cell walls to form at least one fuel plenum. In various examples, forming the fuel reservoir and system cover includes forming a support for the one or more flexible fuel cell walls.
"These and other aspects, advantages, and features of the present systems and methods will become apparent from a consideration of the following description and associated drawings."
URL and more information on this patent, see:
Keywords for this news article include: Energy, Fuel Cell, Oil & Gas,
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