Inspired by biology, this fuel cell is designed to use cheaper materials and an organic compound that shuttles electrons and protons
In a traditional fuel cell, the electrons and protons from hydrogen are conveyed from one electrode to another, where they combine with oxygen to produce water. This process converts chemical energy into electricity. To generate any significant amount of charge in a short amount of time, a catalyst is needed to accelerate the reactions.
The University of Wisconsin - Madison team's answer was to pack cobalt into an adjacent reactor, where the greater quantity of material doesn't obstruct with its performance. The team then formulated a strategy to transport electrons and protons back and forth from this reactor to the fuel cell.