Switzerland Develops The World's First Formic Acid-based Fuel Cell

- Sep 24, 2019-

Swiss researchers have recently developed the world's first formic acid-based fuel cell, which is easier to store and transport than the traditional hydrogen fuel cell requires hydrogen. This fuel cell is suitable for providing environmentally friendly energy in remote areas.

In the development of environmentally friendly energy, the use of hydrogen as a fuel is a key direction. Hydrogen fuel does not produce pollutants and has excellent environmental performance. Therefore, hydrogen fuel cells and other equipment have been developed in the past. However, the problem is that the volumetric energy density of hydrogen is very low. To generate practical energy, the volume of hydrogen required in the gaseous state is huge, and the compression and storage of hydrogen is also faced with many difficulties.

Formic acid can be formed by the reaction of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, or it can be released by hydrogen by chemical reaction. One liter of formic acid can produce 590 liters of hydrogen. Formic acid is liquid under normal conditions, easy to store, transport and handle, and global production continues to be stable, and has been widely used in agriculture, leather, rubber, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, have recently announced the development of a fuel cell based on formic acid. It mainly consists of two parts. The first part named HYFORM can generate hydrogen from formic acid using a ruthenium-based catalyst, and the second part is a fuel cell called PEMFC, which uses the hydrogen from the previous part to generate electricity.

According to reports, the device has a nominal power of 800 watts, which is roughly equivalent to the power required to charge 200 smartphones at the same time.

This device also has the advantages of low maintenance cost and technical scalability, and can be applied to both home and industrial applications. As long as the formic acid supply remains stable, the fuel cell can operate as an environmentally friendly energy source for a long time. Researchers believe it is well suited to provide environmentally friendly energy in remote areas.