PCS

DESIGN AND OPTIMIZATION OF A DIRECT FORMATE FUEL CELL

Fuel cells are a key technology for the energy efficient conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy. The SPT and PCS groups at the University of Twente are working on safe (non-toxic, non-flammable, non-explosive) electricity storage, using the bicarbonate-formate redox system. Energy is stored via the electrochemical conversion of a concentrated potassium bicarbonate solution to potassium formate. This conversion is reversible and the reverse reaction can be operated in a Direct Formate Fuel Cell to generate electricity.

Within the PCS and the SPT group It has been constructed a measurement set-up and fuel cell body, in which there have been performed initial tests with commercially available fuel cell internals (membrane electrode assemblies).  Electricity has been produced with the available internals, but the output power and efficiency should be further optimized. It is expected that either the membrane resistance or catalyst deactivation to be the likely the cause of low performance.

The main objective of the master assignment consists of improving the fuel cell internals by adapting the design. Commercial internals may be used, but it is also possible to produce these in-house to gain more control over the production process. The new internals are to be validated in the existing set-up. That includes mass balance evaluation, and power and efficiency measurements.