Tuesday , May 11 2021

In short, an efficient fuel cell. What do you use?

The new methane fuel cell operates at a much lower temperature.

Fuel cells are, without a doubt, promising technologies. However, existing versions do not stand out for the convenience of the operation or for the price. Both solve the new one, which has no resources. Use cheap and available fuel. It works at the motor car temperature.

So far, it's still a laboratory prototype. However, the creators estimate that the new article can become a standard source not only for domestic electric supply, but also for automotive propulsion. It is based on a highly functional catalytic fuel converter.

New future of Methan

Substantial progress is the replacement of traditional fuel input items, hydrogen. Its price is high and its production and storage are demanding, both energetic and because of the risk of explosion. Hydrogen is produced in the article from an economic and economic alternative, methane. Thus, based on natural gas.

The best commercial usability required great adjustments in the article itself. Methane normally works at a higher operating temperature, between 750 and 1000 degrees Celsius.

The new article only needs 500 degrees Celsius. This is important for driving in automobiles. Car motors work at temperatures of approximately 600 degrees Celsius.

Easy connectivity

"Our article allows us to build robust fuel systems and multi-fuel through the connection from a low grade stainless steel. Temperatures above 750 degrees Celsius would not last any metal without oxidation. This would cause problems with the materials, and the result would be expensive, fragile and contaminated by the article, "said Meilin Liu, chief of Georgia Tech in Atlanta (United States).

The 500 degree operating temperature greatly facilitates the design of interconnected fuel cell systems. For example, they do not have to use the so-called necessary steam reformer in common cells to convert methane and water to hydrogen fuel.

The new fuel cell is practical and profitable, both in terms of materials used as well as traffic.

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The new fuel cell is practical and profitable, both in terms of materials used as well as traffic.

Source: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore

The unit to decentralize energy

Team members used a fuel cell of the SOFC category (solid oxide) as a base. The reason was the versatility of the fuels of these articles. On the other hand, they are expected to first be used in the context of cheap domestic self-energy systems, at the automotive power plant until later.

The domestic fuel cell system interconnected would normally be as big as a shoe box, but auxiliary operating technology should add it. "People would install it as the water heater through which it circulates today. Natural gas as a fuel would provide home electricity. Companies will save the huge resources needed to build new large power plants and the necessary distribution networks," said Meilin Liu.

Closed view of key materials. On the left there is a new type of iron oxide particles that OSU has patented.

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A cheaper hydrogen for the home

The new article did not get rid of hydrogen. Finally, methane is also the number of atoms in the molecule, also predominantly hydrogen (a carbon atom in relation to the four hydrogen atoms). Team members discovered how to convert methane into hydrogen into a fuel cell. Using a new catalyst.

It consists of cerium, nickel and ruthenium. The abbreviation of its CNR name reflects the chemical composition expressed in our country in a somewhat unusual form of the formula Ce0,9Ni0,05Ru0,05O2.

The contact of the catalyst with the methane and water molecules leads to the nickel breaking the methane and ruthenium molecule into the water molecule. Hydrogen molecules and carbon monoxide are formed from the products. "In most fuel cells, carbon monoxide causes a performance problem, but we also use it as a fuel," said Yu Chen of Georgia Tech.

A member of the Ben deGlee team connects electrodes to the test unit used to develop a new fuel cell.

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A member of the Ben deGlee team connects electrodes to the test unit used to develop a new fuel cell.

Source: Georgia Tech / Christopher Moore

Less greenhouse than combustion engines

The produced hydrogen and carbon monoxide proceed to new layers of catalyst that form the cell anode. There are electrons extracted from them, which become charged ions positively. The electrodes flow towards the cathode where they absorb the oxygen molecules from which the negatively charged ions arise.

The ionized hydrogen and oxygen molecules create condensation of water that comes out of the system. Oxygen and carbon monoxide ions also contain pure carbon dioxide that can be captured in the system. However, the article produces much less gas as a combustion engine.

Some fuel cells require a water supply from the outside for initial reactions. In the new article, water is added to the last phase of reactions and initially cycled to react with methane.

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Two flies with one blow

The new CNR catalyst offers two advantages. First of all, the fuel. However, it is also very important that, as the outer layer of the anode's side of the cell also acts as a protection against breakage of the anode material. This significantly prolongs the life of the fuel cell.

The oxygen reaction and the general movement of the system are slow at the end of the cathode. The crew members partly surpassed it, and thus increased the production of electricity, using cátodos made from Perovskite mineral nanofibres that also they developed. "Together with the catalyst structure, nanofiber cathodes allow us to lower to room temperature," concluded Yu Chen.

The study was published by Nature Energy magazine. The report was also released by Georgia Institute of Technology.

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