An associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Arkansas has developed a way to make electrical energy from ethanol.
Jingyi Chen of the UA worked alongside scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory to make this discovery, and develop the catalyst that makes it possible.
Previously, utilizing ethanol as a generating source of electrical energy was not possible, since molecules of ethanol are formed by carbon-carbon bonds.
However, Chen and researchers at Brookhaven were able to identify a chemical pathway to break down these bonds and release electrons, via electro-oxidation.
These findings provide the possibility of lightweight and efficient ethanol fuel cells as a means of electrical power, separate from “the grid.”
Chen and the researchers at Brookhaven’s findings were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.