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Electrical Energy from Alcohol

The “NeMaCell“ ESF junior scientist research group is developing methanol fuel cells at Chemnitz University of Technology

To generate climate-neutral electricity, for example for electromobility: A total of six professorships from Chemnitz University of Technology are involved in the “New Materials for Fuel Cells” (NeMaCell) cooperative interdisciplinary project. The goal of this project is to develop a methanol fuel cell. The Professorship of Materials for Innovative Energy Concepts (Prof. Dr. Marc Armbrüster) is taking the lead on this project, and it is being coordinated by Leonard Rößner, research associate at the professorship. The Professorship of Management Accounting and Control (Prof. Dr. Uwe Goetze), the Professorship of Coordination Chemistry (Prof. Dr. Michael Mehring), the Department of Advanced Powertrains (Prof. Dr. Thomas von Unwerth), the Professorship of Physical Chemistry (Prof. Dr. Werner Goedel) and the Professorship of Polymer Chemistry (Prof. Dr. Michael Sommer) round out the interdisciplinary participation in the project.

Sustainable fuel: reliable refueling – with some obstacles

The research team’s goal is to develop a fuel cell that can generate electricity from pure methanol. As methanol is a liquid and has similar transport properties as diesel and petrol, a vehicle with the appropriate technology could be refueled in a similar fashion to an automobile, and within a very short period of time.

Currently, methanol fuel cell technology is mainly used as a niche solution, for example within military context for energy generation in the field. As well, the application of methanol is more difficult than, for example, the H2 fuel cell, as the use of methanol to generate electricity requires more complex catalysts, among other things.

For widespread use in the area of energy generation, further optimisations and an economic assessment of the technology are necessary. Both of these are a part of the NeMaCell project, and this should help contribute to the marketability of this groundbreaking future technology.

For more information, please contact Leonard Rößner, Phone: 0371 531-30212, E-Mail: leonard.roessner@chemie.tu-chemnitz.de, or Prof. Dr. Marc Armbrüster, Phone: 0371 531-36176, E-Mail: marc.armbruester@chemie.tu-chemnitz.de.

The project is founded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Free State of Saxony.

(Author: Matthias Fejes / Translation: Jeffrey Karnitz)

Matthias Fejes
14.01.2020

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