Hydrogen & Fuel Cells

EXPERTISE AND REFERENCES

  • Technical and economical studies
    • Use of PEMFC as backup for sensitive infrastructures in the nuclear industry
    • Power to Gas and renewable hydrogen applications
  • Hands-on research on Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
    • Pt / PtRu catalysts, MEAs preparation
    • Nafion membranes durability and performance
    • 1 paper

The benefits of hydrogen in tomorrow's economy

The main benefit of widespread use of hydrogen is linked to the absence of greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants

  • hydrogen can be manufactured from renewable sources through water electrolysis.
  • Only water vapor is generated when it is used to generate electricity.

The major disadvantage of the use of hydrogen is the cost of catalysts required for certain fuel cells as well as the problem of storage in restricted volumes. This second point is structuring for the use of hydrogen for mobility.

Fuel cells and electrolysers

The fuel cell is a generator that converts the energy of a fuel into electricity by electrochemical reaction. The most commonly used fuels are natural gas and hydrogen. Many fuel cell technologies exist, but two main industry sectors - PEMFCs and SOFCs - have already found industrial applications:

PEMFC - Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

  • They are compact and work at low temperatures (80 ° C)
  • Electrolyte = polymer.
  • Average yields are around 40% and 60%.
  • Very versatile, they are used in portable or stationary mode (especially for isolated sites).
  • Main challenge: lower cost of catalysts (Pt)

SOFC - Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)

  • Technology used for cogeneration (electricity + heat).
  • Electrolyte = a double oxide of zirconium and yttrium.
  • High operating temperature (800 ° C) which allows to use any fuel containing hydrogen (thanks to the reforming).
  • The use of pure H2 is not mandatory and natural gas can be used.
  • High thermal and electrical efficiency (between 35 and 70%)
  • Poor versatility  (heavy weight, vibration, poor stop & go tperformance)
  • Stationary uses for co-generation mainly

DMFC - Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (PEMFC using methanol)

  • Essentially portable applications, for low noise level and low thermal signature

Of course, this is only a very short and caricatured summary for this exciting subject in many ways. Curious people can refer to the excellent site of the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association


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