Chemist Don Gervasio and colleague Sonja Tasic, both at Arizona State University in the US, set out to develop a fuel cell that would generate more electricity for its weight than the best batteries, and would also work at room temperature.
Gervasio's solution was to use the alkaline compound borohydride. A 30% solution of borohydride in water actually contains one-third more hydrogen than the same volume of liquid hydrogen. "The difference is that the borohydride is at room temperature, and it's stable, non-toxic and cost-effective," Gervasio says. The borohydride solution releases its hydrogen as it flows over a catalyst made of ruthenium. The hydrogen passes through a membrane and combines with oxygen in the fuel cell, generating electricity and waste water.
Theoretically, this could achieve an energy density up to about 2200 watt-hours per litre Gervasio says, compared to 200 watt-hours per litre for a lithium polymer battery.
2000 Wh/kg! Now that's some serious improvement in energy density. The catalyst packs are going to be expensive as hell, but aside from that this sounds amazing.