Sony Tackles Development of Fuel Battery Using Fullerene

August 21, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Sony Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) told Nikkei Electronics (Japan) that it is tackling the development of materials for a fuel battery. The company recently found that fullerene (C60), a carbon substance, can be used for the electrolytic membrane that composes a fuel battery.

High-polymer molecules have been employed for the electrolytic membrane of fuel

batteries currently in use, but the membrane has shortcomings of freezing below 0 degrees C. Therefore, it has to be humidified to generate electricity by introducing water.

The high-polymer molecules work under normal temperatures up to 100 degrees C. Further, it takes one to two seconds before electricity can be generated upon the introduction of water. However, fullerene needs no humidification and performs even at about 20 degrees C of frost.

Sony mentioned that it is at the stage of having confirmed the usefulness of fullerene for an electrolytic membrane on its mock-up product. The company said that it will precisely measure the conductivity of the membrane before it can establish the technology for the membrane. The company also stated that the manufacturing cost is conceivably less than that for high-polymer molecules.