Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in

Fuel Cells and Portable Power Solutions

02/21/2006 6:00 PM Museum
Donald Sadoway, John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry; Department of Materials Science Engineering;

Description: Please don't get Donald Sadoway going on hydrogen power, a much-hyped government alternative to fossil fuel. "If anyone thinks the answer to the energy problem can fit on a bumper sticker, you're wrong. Complex problems require elaborate solutions," says Sadoway. He knocks the hydrogen fuel cell, delineating its many deficiencies: the catalyst required for the electrochemical conversion reaction is pricey platinum; if we use hydrocarbons as a source for hydrogen, we're putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than we're removing; and it's unlikely people will wish to drive with a high temperature reactor under their seats, or locate large stores of raw fuel "down at the station at the corner." Ultimately, hydrogen will simply cost too much to be an effective fuel alternative, and it doesn't address climate change, says Sadoway.

He puts his stock instead in batteries, which, since they were invented around 1800, have been steadily improving in performance and range of applications. From lead acid batteries, through nickel metal hydride to lithium ion, "we're raising the ceiling higher and higher," says Sadoway, referring to the number of watt-hours a battery provides. But we have not yet arrived at the battery powered vehicle yet because the government has directed research elsewhere and because private money is more interested in batteries for laptops and cell phones. Sadoway is convinced: "If we put our money into battery research (the all-electric vehicle) would be here right now. This is a resource-limited problem."

Sadoway also responds to audience questions concerning China and India's economic development, fusion power, and the need for a range of solutions to address energy issues.

Download this video at Apple's iTunesU site

About the Speaker(s): Donald Sadoway has taught at MIT since 1977. His research seeks to establish the scientific underpinnings for technologies that make efficient use of energy and natural resources in an environmentally sound manner. He holds a number of patents, and has served as principal editor of the Journal of Materials Research as well as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Light Metals. He holds the Bose Award for Teaching in the School of Engineering at MIT, 1997. He received a B.A.Sc.in Engineering Science,and an M.A. Sc.and Ph.D.in Chemical Metallurgy from the University of Toronto.

Host(s): Office of the Provost, MIT Museum

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments.

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated 9 months ago

Created
December 12, 2011 21:27
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
4502 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

Crowds and Clouds: Data, Sheep, and Collaboration in the Works of Aaron Koblin

Crowds and Clouds: Data, Sheep, and...

Added over 4 years ago | 00:51:49 | 10034 views

Putting Human Agency into the Equation: The Social Construction of Technology

Putting Human Agency into the Equat...

Added over 4 years ago | 01:18:00 | 4069 views

Defining the Boundaries: Homeland Security and Its Impact on Scientific Research

Defining the Boundaries: Homeland S...

Added over 4 years ago | 01:35:00 | 3920 views

Automotive Lightweighting as a Strategic Opportunity for India's Automotive Industry

Automotive Lightweighting as a Stra...

Added over 4 years ago | 01:08:00 | 12146 views

Religion and Political Violence

Religion and Political Violence

Added over 4 years ago | 01:54:00 | 4032 views

Relaunching Growth in Europe

Relaunching Growth in Europe

Added over 4 years ago | 00:58:24 | 7631 views