Researchers Developing Urea-Powered Fuel Cell

HW Rao Rong

In brief: A British research team at Heriot-Watt University is developing a Direct Urea Powered Fuel Cell targeting water treatment/purification and renewable energy.

The word

Drs. Shanwen Tao and Rong Lan

The initial use for the fuel cells will be as a water treatment and purification option where urea is a problem contaminant (often in areas downstream from farming) and power producer. Later, it could be used in multiple applications including vehicles.

The researchers, Dr. Shanwen Tao and Dr. Rong Lan, have developed a prototype of the system and were recently awarded a grant to continue development.

Urea is a major component of urine and is also mass-manufactured for use in agriculture. It is non-toxic and offers an alternative to hydrogen and methane without the combustion negatives associated with their transportation.

And so ...

The team's proof of principle was done using commercial urea.

Photo credits: Heriot Watt

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