EPFL scientists developed world’s first formic acid-based fuel cell

The world’s first integrated power supply unit that can produce electricity from formic acid.

The HYFORM-PEMFC is the result of a project co-financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and GRT Group
The HYFORM-PEMFC is the result of a project co-financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and GRT Group

EPFL scientists along with GRT Group have developed the world’s first coordinated power supply unit that can deliver power from formic corrosive, utilizing a power device in an energy product, safe, low-cost, and maintainable way.

the basis for the project is using hydrogen carriers such as formic acid, which is the simplest combination of hydrogen and CO2. One liter of formic acid can carry 590 liters of hydrogen.

Formic acid is fluid at ordinary conditions, simple to store, transport, and handle, and is created from practical sources in a huge number of tons internationally: it is as of now utilized broadly in agribusiness, and the cowhide, elastic, substance, and pharmaceutical ventures.

Professor Gabor Laurenczy posing in his lab with models of ants, representing the production of formic acid © Alain Herzog/EPFL
Professor Gabor Laurenczy posing in his lab with models of ants, representing the production of formic acid © Alain Herzog/EPFL

The gadget used to separate the hydrogen from formic acid comprises of two primary parts, a hydrogen reformer (HYFORM) and a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The reformer utilizes a ruthenium-based catalyst to separate hydrogen, in spite of the fact that the researchers are as of now creating impetuses in light of significantly less expensive materials.

This unit can produce 7000 kWh yearly, and its nominal power is 800 Watts – roughly the equivalent of 200 smartphones being recharged simultaneously. Its electrical efficiency is currently up to 45%. This unit can produce 7000 kWh yearly, and its nominal power is 800 Watts – roughly the equivalent of 200 smartphones being recharged simultaneously. Its electrical efficiency is currently up to 45%.

In addition, the device requires less maintenance no sulfur treatment, and features stable and long-term catalyst performance. It can be used in both households and industrial settings. Since it just should be energized with formic corrosive, the framework does not expect an association with control lattices, which makes it perfect for remote or difficult to reach zones.

Gabor Laurenczy said, “The chemical transformation of CO2, a greenhouse gas, into useful products becomes increasingly important as its atmosphere levels continue to rise because of human activity. For this reason, producing formic acid in a sustainable way – using CO2 as a hydrogen-energy vector – is very important. Worldwide demand for formic acid is growing, especially in the context of renewable energy. Hydrogen carriers, and their production from CO2, either through hydrogenation or from bio-waste or biomass, are considerably more sustainable than existing routes.”