Chemistry: Electricity from Alcohol

The new device on display at the Linden, N.J., laboratory of Esso Research & Engineering Co. looked like nothing more than an outsize storage battery draped with a tangle of plastic tubes.Like a battery, it was an entirely self-contained source of electricity, but it was far more than that. Esso's new fuel cell comes remarkably close to the achievement of a chemical engineer's dream: the use of a cheap fuel to pro duce practical amounts of electric cur rent without the aid of expensive engines or generators.

Other fuel cells already in operation combine pure hydrogen and oxygen to...

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