Jet Propulsion Laboratory Surges Ahead On Clean Energy Technology

A new clean fuel
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in conjunction with the University of South Carolina have made major breakthroughs in clean energy technology. JPL group, comprising of NASA scientists have developed methanol based fuel, which can be used as fuel for space vehicles, commercial and defense forces. Development of clean energy has been a major field of research in United States. The new fuel will be known as Direct Methanol Fuel Cell. JPL is managed by California Institute of Technology.

What is clean energy?
Clean energy is the kind of energy that is eco-friendly and does not cause pollution. The fuel is developed using renewable sources of energy that are obtained naturally like wind power, solar power, hydropower, biomass and ocean tides. Unlike conventional fuels from non-renewable sources such as coal, clean energy does not leave behind hazardous residue when consumed. Clean energy is also called green energy due to these characteristics. They curb global warming up to a large extent.
Clean Energy Technology

Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
The new clean fuel developed by the NASA is based on Methanol. Liquid methanol is used as a fuel in this technology. The fuel cell technology does not require any other fuel to produce electricity. Its only byproducts are pure water and carbon dioxide.

The beauty of this technological innovation lies in its simplicity. The design of this technology is simple and the energy density is higher. These characteristics make direct methanol fuel cell technology a lot better than other combustible fuels that are used today. The technology is said to be a huge breakthrough in the field of green technology and will be used in numerous applications. While the resulting product of the research is a very useful fuel, a number of other innovations have also emerged out of the process.

Other innovations along with direct methanol fuel cell
Along with the development of direct methanol fuel technology, the major other by products of the research are a wide range of complex catalyst materials, compact fuel cell stacks, system designs and electrodes assemblies consisting of high-performance fuel cell membrane. The development of this innovative technology has laid a strong foundation for a new means of electricity generation. With the increase in awareness about protecting environment, this technology can well become one of the most useful technological innovations of tomorrow.

Where can direct methanol fuel cell technology be used?
Originally developed for use in defense circles as a fuel, direct methanol fuel cell technology can also be used in a wide range of commercial purposes. This fuel can also be used as  battery charging element in various electronic applications such as electric vehicles, consumer electronics and stand-alone power systems. They are also very useful when used as sources of fuel in emergency power generators for residential and commercial supply requirements.

The team of scientists has also asserted that it is keen to take the technology forward and develop more applications for the fuel. For the purpose of demonstration, the team developed a 300-watt prototype engine that runs on direct methanol fuel.