Tohoku University has announced that it has developed a magnesium fuel cell that generates electricity using salt water as an electrolyte, instead of a chemical alkali, and in partnership with Furukawa Battery Company hopes to commercialize it within the year.
The fuel cells will also be suitable for electric vehicles and company aims to set the price at half that of a lead battery. Since magnesium is found in sea water, the product has an advantage as the resource would not be depleted or would not face a sudden sharp price increase. Although it has been getting attention as a fuel cell material there were some difficult issues such as being easily-burned or dissolved in electrolysis solution for electric generation. The company explained that those issues are solved with using "Flame-retardant magnesium" developed for a different research by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The innovation promises to do away with expensive and toxic chemicals such as lead from fuel cell units and promises cheaper and cleaner ones.
Professor Ohama (fluid dynamics) who was involved in the development mentioned, "It is now possible to install an inexpensive emergency power source at each house".
Source: Fuel Cell Development Information Centre
Top image: Tohoku University