The new fuel cell will help solve the problem of renewable energy storage.

Chemists have created a reversible proton-ceramic electrochemical element for generating electricity and fuel production, which, thanks to a unique ceramic catalyst, works with an efficiency of 98%.

Now we are increasingly beginning to use solar panels and wind generators, but to store excessive energy in traditional batteries is inefficient and expensive. One of the alternatives is to maintain energy by converting it to hydrogen fuel using electrolyzers, splitting water. Then with the help of fuel cells, the process turn reversal using H2 to produce electricity. However, the existing equipment uses different catalysts for two opposite reactions.

To solve this problem, chemists from the North-West University in Evanton experimented with new proton-ceramic electrochemical elements that are able to first produce hydrogen, and then convert it back to water to generate electricity, using only one set of catalysts. Previously, the main obstacle was in ceramic catalysts (air electrodes), which used less than 70% of electricity for splitting H2O molecules, and the rest was lost in the form of heat. Therefore, they focused on their cultivation.

Recently, researchers have reported to achieve success in this direction. They developed a ceramic alloy electrode consisting of five elements that works with an efficiency of 98%. According to scientists themselves, experiments were carried out only in the laboratory and still require tests in real installations, which usually leads to a decrease in indicators.

However, with a minor reduction in efficiency, new devices will be able to use electricity for efficient operation, and not the heating of the system. If engineers really achieve this, the cost of storing energy will fall sharply.

Cambridge decided to choose another way of storing energy and replace batteries