Converting jet fuel into electricity has been a challenge for engineers using traditional methods because jet fuel contains sulfur that weakens metal catalysts used to oxide the fuel in standard fuel cells. This method is also very inefficient; only 30 percent of fuel is converted to electricity in the best conditions.
A team of engineers at the University of Utah developed a new fuel cell that creates electricity from Jet Propellant-8 or JP-8, a kerosene-based jet fuel, at room temperature. The fuel cell uses enzymes that work as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions to produce electricity without the need for high heat. This new method of producing electricity could be used to power portable electronics, off-grid power, and sensors.