As reported last month, Nissan is developing an ethanol-based fuel cell vehicle. Now a Philippines research team led by Dr. Bernard John Tongol, at the University of Sto. Tomas, have announced their work into a direct ethanol fuel cell. They chose ethanol for its availability, citing it as a relatively non-toxic renewable resource, that can be produced indefinitely from agricultural waste. For the fuel-cell’s anode they used palladium, with cobalt and iron for the cathode.
Ethanol has structural advantages to hydrogen as a fuel, in that Brazil and the USA have large-scale infrastructure and supply systems already in place. Technically, however, it remains to be seen how well these fuel cells will operate in real-world conditions. For now, Dr Tongol’s team expects to have their prototype finished by November this year.