According to IEEE Spectrum, crystals known as perovskites could improve fuel cells, as they already did for solar cells. By exposing a perovskite to hydrogen fuel, the scientists found that the electrons donated by the hydrogen interacted with the electrons in the crystal. The resulting collective quantum mechanical effect suppressed electron conduction through the perovskite by nearly 100 million-fold compared to the perovskite in its pristine state.

In experiments, the fuel cell reached a maximum power output of 225 milliwatts per square centimeter at 500 degrees C, which is comparable to the best-performing proton-conducting fuel cells in the same temperature range.

Future research will focus on developing inexpensive electrodes that can interact well with the new electrolyte, and on scaling up the system for practical power generation in applications such as vehicles and portable devices.

The good thing is that these crystals are inexpensive and easily produced in labs.