SERVICE STATIONS - The same service station that provides freshly charged
hydrogen batteries, can also supply methanol batteries and/or ammonia
batteries. SmartNet is future proofing for investors such as energy
providers and grid operators, without resorting to gas
holders. Why put in load levelling stations that only have one
function? We hope this is a topic of discussion at the forthcoming UN
COP 27 in Egypt in 2022.
Methanol is a globally available fuel. Methanol is a biodegradable alcohol that can be used in internal combustion engines, typically with diesel, or in fuel cells, for an all electric drivetrain,
with the fuel stored at normal room temperatures.
is therefore a potential candidate for hydrogen batteries, using the
Universal Cartridge system as part of the SmartNet system, to future proof
against technology changes and upgrades - as EVs come of age.
could become the fuel of choice, where in theory it could deliver hydrogen
more cheaply than as a compressed or cryogenic liquid. With only ammonia
being theoretically cheaper, but NH3 still has many technical obstacles
still to be resolved.
so many competing hydrogen based fuels, lithium and solid state batteries,
all being developed in the zero
emission gold-rush, automobile and truck producers might increase the
versatility of their range, protecting products from obsolescence, as
breakthroughs occur from the veritable stampede of formats - shaking
confidence in the rather confusing market at the moment. So reducing that
DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELLS
Direct-methanol fuel cells or DMFCs are a subcategory of proton-exchange fuel cells in which methanol is used as the fuel. Their main advantage is the ease of transport of methanol, an energy-dense yet reasonably stable liquid at all environmental conditions.
Whilst the thermodynamic theoretical energy conversion efficiency of a DMFC is 97%; the currently achievable energy conversion efficiency for operational cells attains 30% – 40%. There is intensive research on promising approaches to increase the operational efficiency.
REFORMED OR INDIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELLS RMFC - IMFC
Reformed Methanol Fuel Cell (RMFC) or Indirect Methanol Fuel Cell (IMFC) systems are a subcategory of proton-exchange fuel cells where, the fuel, methanol (CH3OH), is reformed, before being fed into the fuel cell. RMFC systems offer advantages over direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) systems including higher efficiency, smaller cell stacks, less requirement on methanol purity, no water management, better operation at low temperatures, and storage at sub-zero temperatures because methanol is a liquid from -97.0 °C to 64.7 °C (-142.6 °F to 148.5 °F) and as there is no liquid methanol-water mixture in the cells which can destroy the membrane of DMFC in case of frost. The reason for the high efficiency of RMFC in contrast to DMFC is that hydrogen containing gas is fed to the fuel cell stack instead of methanol and overpotential (power loss for catalytic conversion) on anode is much lower for hydrogen than for methanol. The tradeoff is that RMFC systems operate at hotter temperatures and therefore need more advanced heat management and insulation. The waste products with these types of fuel cells are carbon dioxide and water.
RMFC systems have reached an advanced stage of development. For instance, a small system developed by Ultracell for the United States military, has met environmental tolerance, safety, and performance goals set by the United States Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, and is commercially available.
Larger systems 350W to 8 MW are also available for multiple applications, such as power plant generation, backup power generation, emergency power supply, auxiliary power unit (APU) and battery range extension (electric vehicles, ships).
In contrast to diesel or gasoline generators maintenance interval of RMFC systems is usually significantly longer as no exchange of oil-filters and other engine service parts is needed. So the use of RMFC in off-grid applications (e.g. highway maintenance) and remote areas (e.g. telecom, mountains) is often preferred over diesel gensets.
The primary advantage of a vehicle with a reformer is that it does not need a pressurized gas tank to store hydrogen fuel; instead methanol is stored as a liquid. The logistic implications of this are great; pressurized hydrogen is difficult to store and produce. Also, this could help ease the public's concern over the danger of hydrogen and thereby make fuel cell-powered vehicles more attractive. However, methanol, like gasoline, is toxic and (of course) flammable. The cost of the PdAg membrane and its susceptibility to damage by temperature changes provide obstacles to adoption.
Methanol has a high energy density (3450 Wh kg and 3000 Wh l in a 1:1 molar ratio with water). It is easy to handle and is completely miscible with water, but is corrosive to some metals (aluminium). It can also be produced from a variety of sources and is available from pharmacies at a low price.
The energy density of hydrogen is 520 Wh/L (in case of 2,000 psi gas cylinder). However, methanol has 4,817 Wh/L of energy density Since space and weight are at a premium in most transportation, DMFC is attractive for transportation applications.
Methanol is tomorrow’s hydrogen, today. It is an extremely efficient hydrogen carrier, packing more hydrogen in one simple alcohol molecule than can be found in hydrogen. Being a liquid at ambient conditions, methanol can be handled, stored, and transported with ease by leveraging existing infrastructure that supports the global trade of methanol. Methanol reformers are able to generate on-demand hydrogen at the point of use to avoid the complexity and high cost associated with the logistics of hydrogen as a fuel. Methanol can also be produced from sustainable and green pathways to allow it to be a carrier of low carbon, and potentially carbon-neutral, hydrogen.
Fuel cells use hydrogen as a fuel to produce clean and efficient electricity that can power cars, trucks, buses, ships, cell phone towers, homes and businesses. Methanol is an excellent hydrogen carrier fuel, packing more hydrogen in this simple alcohol molecule than can be found in hydrogen that’s been compressed (350-700 bar) or liquefied (-253˚C).
dioxide can be combined with hydrogen from renewable energy to make
sustainable methanol, looking towards the elusive circular
economy. Giving new meaning to carbon
capture and storage.
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