The Surface Science and Electrocatalysis Group of the University of La Laguna, whose main researcher is Professor Elena Pastor, has recently patented two discoveries related to energy efficiency. Specifically, a new model of fuel cell of small size, and a photoelectric cell that takes more surface of the plates to capture solar energy.
The first patent is signed by the Pastor and the researchers Gabriel Ángel Planes, Gonzalo García and Jonathan Flórez, and is part of one of the areas of specialization of the group, the design of nanometric materials for application as catalysts in fuel cells. In this case, it would not be a battery with the usual measures, but a small format, about the size of a coin, which could be very useful to supply devices such as mobile phones or even pacemakers.
The novelty of this patent is not in the small format of the pile or in the material used, called mesoporous, fruit of previous research by the group; it is in the design of the artifact, with a disposition of the material in layers that improves its energy efficiency.
«The idea,» explains Pastor, «is to prepare a structure that is perfectly arranged in rows, so that the oxidized fuel runs through these channels and makes the fuel react.» The battery works with alcohols such as methanol and ethanol, «which could be of bio origin, which, from the environmental point of view, are friendlier.»