Questions and answers

The target of our Company Is Development, manufacturing and introduction of efficient and environmentally friendly power supply systems.

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions.

General questions

Fuel cells (FC) is an electrochemical device that uses hydrogen, carbon monoxide or gaseous organic fuel and oxygen to produce electricity and thermal energy.

The process of electricity production in fuel cells are significantly more efficient than heat engines. In addition, TE has no moving parts and minimized the role of fuel combustion, making the process silent and environmentally friendly.

Industry TE is becoming more stable and ready for mass implementation. This is supported by the growing interest of large companies to use TE and investments in related technologies. In the last 3-4 years, fuel cells are increasingly being implemented on the markets. Continued growth in the volume of orders for power plants on basis of fuel elements (TEU) in many sectors of the economy. The result is a doubling of supply to consumers TEU in 2012 compared to 2011 and a 1.5-fold increase in deliveries in 2013 compared to 2012.

There were three main directions of the use of fuel cells:

1) stationary energy: energy systems for centralized and distributed electricity and heat supply, uninterruptible power supply;
2) transport energy: power plant vehicles, auxiliary power unit;
3) portable power: power sources in mobile devices, battery chargers, power a variety of auxiliary device, etc.

In the near term for the stationary energy sector the most promising area of application of the power installations based on fuel elements probably should be considered as distributed generation and independent power supply – TEU and CTEU electric power from a few kilowatts for individual households and small businesses up to one megawatt for electricity and heat supply of industrial enterprises, of fairly large properties (shopping centres, etc.), housing development (small towns and urban areas).In the longer term, TEU, including hybrid, electric power up to hundred megawatts can be used for distributed and centralized power supplies.

Due to the unique physico-chemical properties of hydrogen, this gas is the most attractive fuel for fuel cells. At the moment the main methods of producing hydrogen include steam reforming, partial oxidation and autothermal reforming of hydrocarbons, and conversion of biofuels. For PAMTA is the preferred technology highly selective oxidation of CO. For use with fuel cells, running on hydrogen, in transport and in mobile devices select the most optimal method of storage or a local hydrogen production.

There are several ways of storing hydrogen: production of liquid hydrogen, compressing hydrogen gas, metal hydrides, borohydride, carbon nanotubes, zeolites and metal organic frameworks. Most widely used is the storage of hydrogen in compressed form in the lung cylinders made of polymer and carbon fibers under pressure up to 700 bar. The direct use of liquid fuels in fuel cells is advantageous because of the greater density of stored energy compared to gaseous fuels. Liquid fuel, such as methyl and ethyl alcohols, relatively cheap, easy to handle, transport and store.However, it should be noted that the power density of TE liquid fuel is negligible compared to the power densities of fuel cells with gas under similar modes of operation, mainly due to the slow kinetics of the oxidation of relatively large molecules, involving up to 18 electrons and not excluding numerous adverse reactions.

Also, along with a higher density of stored energy, you need to take into account the possible environmental problems from the use of such fuels. Methanol, produced mainly by reforming of natural gas is very toxic and flammable. Best alternative for mobile devices due to a much smaller potential danger is ethanol, which can be synthesized from acetylene or obtained by alcoholic fermentation. Electrochemical oxidation of most liquid fuels is, unfortunately, mostly incomplete.For example, the main products of the electrooxidation of methanol – formaldehyde and formic acid. Formaldehyde is highly corrosive, toxic, carcinogen. In the case of ethanol the main obstacle lies in the strong C–C bonds; the products are acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Dimethyl ether can also be used as fuel because it is the simplest ether with no C–C bond and less toxic compared with methanol.However, the main products of direct dimethyl ether electrooxidation in fuel cells are all the same methanol and methylformate, and the proportion of methanol does not depend on the current, but increases with temperature. A further selection of possible fuels gives similar results.

Thus, the operation of fuel cells on liquid fuels is inevitably associated with the cleaning or processing of the reaction products.

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