UltraCell Applications
  • Why are fuel cells better for many applications than batteries?

    Fuel cells and batteries both use silent chemical reactions to release electrons and provide useful electricity. A battery converts a fixed amount of chemicals that are stored inside the battery into electricity. This means that a battery eventually "goes dead" and you either throw it away or need to recharge it "on the grid".

    However, a fuel cell does not need to be recharged and never stops providing power, so long as the "fuel" is available. When used in long runtime applications, the UltraCell XX25™ fuel cell has the advantage of being two to three times lighter than batteries. An UltraCell system can be deployed in almost any application where off-grid power for extended periods is needed.

    Since fuel cells are good at providing steady power or current, and batteries are effective in providing sharp peaks in power, UltraCell's systems are easily hybridized with batteries to take advantage of the dual benefit.

  • Why is methanol a good choice for use in a fuel cell?

    Methanol is naturally occurring, biodegradable, and energy dense. Its striking advantage is the use of a cheap liquid fuel that can very easily be handled, stored, and distributed, and which has an extremely high energy density. And, unlike other "ecofriendly" power sources like solar or wind power, which are reliant on direct sunshine or wind in the area of operation, methanol can be easily shipped to any location needed. In fact, in many areas, a working methanol infrastructure exists already down to the consumer level, e.g. windshield washer fluid. Methanol is naturally hydrogen dense (a hydrogen carrier) and can be steam reformed into hydrogen at lower temperatures compared to other hydrocarbon fuels. As its nickname, wood alcohol suggests, methanol can be distilled from wood and other organic materials. Additional, information about methanol may be found at the Methanol Institute's webpage:

  • What are the advantages of UltraCell's technology over Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFCs), solid oxide fuel cells, and others?

    UltraCell's XX25 is 4 times lighter and 16 times smaller than any other competitive fuel cell in the market for comparable power output.

    While both UltraCell's Reformed Methanol Fuel Cell technology and DMFCs convert methanol to electricity, UltraCell has many advantages over a DMFC or solid oxide solution, including

    • Higher efficiency with faster startup times

    • Smaller size and lighter weight

    • Cleaner operations with less CO2 emissions, and no need for water management

    • Better operation and storage capabilities at low temperatures and in harsh

    UltraCell fuel cells use a mixture of methanol and water, which is easier to handle than pure methanol or propane gas. UltraCell first converts, or reforms, the methanol into small amounts of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and then feeds these products to the fuel cell reaction zone for electricity generation. UltraCell's technology allows for higher power generation in a compact, rugged package that is easily carried, just like a hardbound book.

  • Are fuel cells safe?

    Fuel cells are inherently safe, since the reactants (fuel) are separate from the reaction zone. Only small amounts of fuel are present in the reaction zone at any given time, and the remainder of the fuel is safely stored in a reservoir. This differs from the design of batteries, where all of the chemicals are stored within the reaction zone.

    While methanol is flammable, the UltraCell fuel cell uses a diluted water/methanol mixture, which is actually less flammable than many types of liquor available on commercial aircraft today.

  • What are the emissions on an UltraCell fuel cell?

    UltraCell's fuel cells are very clean, with the only waste products being carbon dioxide and water. And UltraCell lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions than other technologies. For instance, a typical car running on gasoline will emit 8.78 Kgs of CO2 per gallon, while a generator running on propane will emit 5.67 kgs of CO2 per gallon. However, UltraCell fuel cells emit only 4.10 kgs of CO2 per gallon of methanol (Ref: CA Climate Action Registry General Reporting Protocol).

  • What are some good applications for UltraCell fuel cells?

    Light on weight, heavy on power, UltraCell fuel cells are ideal for many portable or mission-critical applications. These include laptops, 2-way radios, security cameras and surveillance equipment, satellite communication devices, and electronics in automobile, field trucks, RVs, yachts and boats.