Inspired by the humble cactus, scientists have developed a type of membrane that has the potential to significantly boost the performance of fuel cells and transform the electric vehicle industry.
In hot conditions the membrane, which features a water repellent skin, can improve the efficiency of fuel cells by a factor of four, scientists said.
According to Aaron Thornton from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, the skin works in a similar way to a cactus plant, which thrives by retaining water in harsh and arid environments.
Professor Young Moo Lee from Hanyang University, who led the research, said this could have major implications for many industries, including the development of electric vehicles. “One of the main barriers to the uptake of fuel cell e-vehicles is water management and heat management in fuel cell systems. This research addresses this hurdle,” said Lee.