The University of Waterloo has made advancements in zero-emission fuel cells which they believe could make the technology cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines.

The newly developed fuel cell has the ability to last at least ten times longer than currently technology.

“With our design approach, the cost could be comparable or even cheaper than gasoline engines,” said Xianguo Li, Director of the Fuel Cell and Green Energy Lab at Waterloo.

“The future is very bright. This is clean energy that could boom.”

Xianguo Li with fuel cell in the lab

Source: University of Waterloo

Implementation of current fuel cell technology has experienced draw backs due to high pricing; the researchers have now solved that problem with a design that makes fuel cells more durable by delivery a constant, rather than fluctuating, amount of electricity.

The fuel cells produce electricity from the chemical reaction when hydrogen and oxygen are combined to make water means the process is much simpler and cheaper. 

“We have found a way to lower costs and still satisfy durability and performance expectations,” said Li, Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.

Xianguo Li with fuel cell test vehicle

Source: University of Waterloo

“We’re meeting economic targets while providing zero emissions for a transportation application.”

“This is a good first step, a transition to what could be the answer to the internal combustion engine and the enormous environmental harm it does.”

Researchers hope the introduction of fuel cells in hybrid vehicles will lead to mass production and lower unit costs.