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What kind of fuel cell is this???  RSS feed

 
Bill Bianchi
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http://m.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-04/device-turns-charcoal-stove-cell-phone-charger

This device provides the power to charge a cell phone when the end is put into the fire. They're saying that the piece that goes into the fire is a fuel cell, not a thermal electric generator.

All right, what the heck kind of fuel cell is this and is it possible to make one DIY?

Anyone have a clue about this?
 
allen lumley
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Bill B. : You've got me swinging. My First thought was that this was simply a very efficient Thermocouple, and that the C.E.O. was a business School Graduate and no
kind of a scientist, but one would hope that he was better prepped by his people than to allow that to happen !

Wikipedia says that a fuel cell is : A device that converts the Chemical Energy from a fuel into electricity thru a chemical reaction with Oxygen or an Oxidizing Agent.

About the only other things kinda common to "fuel cells'' is they don't have to store the fuel within themselves, and though heat is often a byproduct very little energy
is lost as heat energy (at least as compared to an I.C.E. )

It is posible that some new Oxidizing Catalyst 'never before tested' at this operating temperature could react Carbon Monoxide into Carbon Dioxide freeing a single
electron, and endlessly repeating the cycle. There have been many breakthroughs in coating Catalysts onto highly porous mediums One molecule thick and creating
incredible amounts of surface contact area !!

If you used chunk charcoal you made your self, and didn't try to recycle old painted boards into fuel, then I can't see where the catalyst- if its a catalyst would pick up
much in the way of contaminates ! Then again that may be its big secret, a sweet spot in the temperature ranges that the catalyst works in without picking up
contamination !

The C.E.O. said that this process was cheap, we will have to see how much of an effort they make to re-cycle the alleged Fuel cell, if we get a this is how you dispose
of your old fuel cell and not a ''on receipt of your old fuel cell and $XXX$ we will ship you a new one "!- then all we have to do is wait for the secret to get out !

For the Craft, Think like Fire, flow like Gas ! As always, comments and questions are solicited and are Welcome ! PYRO - LOGICALLY Big AL
 
Bill Bianchi
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Thanks for the response, Allen.

Like you, I at first assumed this was some sort of TEG. But, I dug around a bit more and found references to carbon being needed, as well as oxygen. the oxygen is a given, since it's free all around us. It said that any source of burning carbon would work, but charcoal was preferred. It also said the thing on the end that acts as the cell does ware out and will need to be replaced periodically.
If that's the case, it seems more like a fuel cell, being fed carbon from the fire and oxygen from the air, right at the source.

Weird. I have no idea if this thing is really economical or environmently friendly. It seemed a bit different, though, so I posted in the hopes someone would recognize how this works and explain it. Or better still, figure out a DIY method to replicate it, if its worth doing.
 
allen lumley
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Bill B. : Point Source Power the new startup for this model, is simultaneously trying through Kick starter to bring a propane/butane camping cook stove with three Xs
the power and two usb ports to market pledge $79 and get one, send one to Kenya like the buy one computer for $100 and one will be sent to a 3rd world - - -

Google halo fuel cell and get sent to kickstarter ! 4 the Craft ! questions? Comments ?
 
Morgan Morrigan
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This is prob the reverse of the standard lighter fuel hand warmer, using a platinum or nickle catalyst, and the carbon coming from the fire, rather than the naptha.

If the catalyst consumes both oxy and the carbon on the catalyst, seems like you could pull off the phonons as heat or EM. Prob has a pretty big coil in there somewhere...
 
Bill Bianchi
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Any chance I can weld nickels to the rods, stick it in the fire, and charge my phone or a battery of some sort?

I know that's over simplifying a tad, but is this technology right for DIY replication?
 
allen lumley
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Bill Bianchi : Probably not, the unit thats going to Kenya is two parts, handle with battery, led light to read by,and a cellphone running/charging connection. A Kenyan's
'as quoted' price $17.ooU.S.D , the part that has the 'fuel cells' has replaced 90% of the Ceramics with long lasting Stainless Steel. The 'as quoted' price for re-
placement 'Fuel cells is $7 U.S.D, however it appears that they come as a set of three, and I don't know that we were, or were not quoted a per piece price !

If you need 1 fire to run your Led and 1 or 2 fires to charge up a cell phone, and they expect it to last 3-4 months, this would last a long time, hopefully well past any
regional emergency, and be worth tucking away for emergency use.

How soon you could use this type of system to say replace the use of Solar yard lights that people use to themselves replace plug-in night lights would depend on de-
velopement work ! Trying to guess the commercial niche that this product will fill and become worthy of the break throughs we might wish for it is usually an 'Air Castle'
thing !

Are you familiar with the Instructables.com group* ?! If this can be hacked they and their sister group for kids Squid Labs, will crack it ! Think like Fire, Flow like Gas -
Big Al !
 
Victor Johanson
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I've seen all kinds of cool stuff on PopSci over the decades, but I've almost never seen any of it come to anything. They should call it "Popular Fantasy."
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Can prob just use the copper wire TEG setup, since you have a variable source.
Would have to make multiple cores, to up the voltage, but should work fine.
I would be tempted to integrate this with the joule ringer coil, to up the current too...



http://sparkbangbuzz.com/copper-oxide-te/copper-oxide-gen3.htm

 
allen lumley
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Vic Johnson :I have noticed this also, they report on everything eventually so you can say you read about it in Pop Sci, But their track record for being right about
''The next big thing " is just incredible for the % they are wrong ! Big Al
 
Victor Johanson
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Yeah, it does seem like being featured in PopSci is the kiss of death for any innovation. Here's an entertaining history of their on-the-verge coverage of that tantalizing favorite--the flying car:

http://jalopnik.com/5488439/gallery-the-flying-cars-of-popular-science/
 
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