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(29,798 posts)
5. Maybe better than 'fuel cell' would be identifying it as energy storage or as an energy carrier.
Thu Dec 19, 2013, 04:30 AM
Dec 2013

When we store energy we don't expect a surplus, we expect there to be some cost in terms of losses as it goes through the system of entering and leaving the storage medium.

As you say high energy density in a portable and easily retrievable medium are the characteristics important to liquid fuels applications. We can't build batteries that will store and deploy anywhere near the energy of liquid fuels, but for most applications where they are used we don't need to. Electricity is the most generally versatile energy carrier and with batteries can replace most petroleum used. But heavy duty applications like agriculture, air and sea transport will require liquid fuels for the foreseeable future.

When you run the numbers on liquid fuels for personal transportation though, you find their use in internal combustion engines are a source of huge inefficiencies which when eliminated with battery electric drive reduce the actual amount of energy input into the sector by about 80% to deliver the same amount of work.

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