Yale University researchers have developed a new micro fuel cell using bulk metallic glass (BMG) that is long-lasting, low-cost and environmental-friendly. The goal is to one day replace the traditional fragile, inefficient and expensive silicon and stainless steel based micro fuel cell used in portable electronic gadgets.
Assistant professor Andre D. Taylor of Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science said that, "These amorphous metal alloys are amazing materials that can be easily shaped into both large and small nanostructures, yet retain suitable properties for a wide range of electrochemical applications". Also, silicon is a brittle and poor electricity conductor, and stainless steel is prone to corrosion. Special coatings are required which increase production costs. Fabricating metal components on the nanoscale is complex and time-consuming also. BMG will solve all these problems.
The micro fuel cell sized 3 cubic centimeters was made with zirconium and platinum compounds. In tests, researchers were able to prove that it generates electricity. Now the focus is to improve its efficiency so that one day it could power things like smartphones, tablets or remote sensors.