Inergio, a start-up created by Swiss company EPFL, has unveiled a prototype for a lightweight, eco-friendly, high-performance fuel cell that could, in the future, lead to miniature hydrogen fuel cells.
Despite the fuel cell’s size, which measures 25cm long by 14cm high and wide, Inergio says it can successfully supply 25W when there is no access to a power grid and hydrogen.
The prototype is expected to provide between seven to eight hours of flight time for delivery drones and will additionally help power weather stations, environmental sensors, telecommunication antennae and even campsites.
Additionally, the prototype employs a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) which offers high fuel-to-electricity conversion yields and is stated to not emit pollutants yet can operate at extremely high temperatures (650°C).
This showcases the company’s long-term desire to switch to carbon neutral power sources while not sacrificing power to achieve this goal.
This fuel cell, reportedly 80% lighter than similar systems, could help broaden the capabilities of hydrogen fuel cells within the current market, Inergio says.
Founder and Director at Inergio, Mahmoud Hadad, said, “In the future, hydrogen – for now still hard to produce – could also be used as a fuel, making the cell even more efficient and eco-friendly.”
“In remote locations, such as mountainous regions, it offers a safe, silent power source that is not dependent on weather conditions and can operate on its own for extended periods.”
Thanks to an enable grant from EPFL’s Vice Presidency for Innovation, Inergio has outlined its plan to develop an all-in-one system that could fit within a shoebox.
This technology could be groundbreaking for hydrogen fuel cell research allowing the creation of a zero-emissions hydrogen power source on the go that is able to fit into any system required.