Electrochemical Versus Heat-Engine Energy Technology: A Tribute to Wilhelm Ostwald’s Visionary Statements

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Abstract

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Carnot versus electrochemistry: This essay critically compares the advantages and disadvantages of Carnot-cycle-based and electrochemical methods for the generation and storage of energy (see picture; left: PEM fuel cell; right: Au(111) model surface covered with 0.025 monolayers of Pt). The views of Wilhelm Ostwald (1853–1932) and today's understanding of energy conversion are contrasted.

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