Scientists Offer Methanol for Power Generation in Electric Cars

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By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News

Newswise — Two professors from the Ural Federal University (Russia) have created a technology to generate electricity for an electric car engine by using methanol. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy published an article that described the technology. “We pour methanol in the fuel tank. An air converter is installed inside the vehicle, which converts methanol into a mixture of gas and hydrogen. The vehicle’s air converter produces a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This is required for the current operation of an electrical vehicle engine,” said Sergey Shcheklein of the UrFU Department of Nuclear Power Plants and Renewable Energy Sources. The synthesis gas is then fed to an electrochemical generator that uses a solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The SOFC anode converts the chemical reaction into electrical energy. Hydrogen is then oxidized. Carbon monoxide is introduced to a separate combustion chamber where it is oxidized with air and released as thermal energy. The catalyst for the conversion of methanol to a gas mixture is heated by thermal energy. Emissions of residual carbon dioxide are insignificant.Methanol is a non-explosive substance, the simplest alcohol, its production is not expensive: methanol can be obtained from any organic resources, including plant biomass and solid domestic waste. The electrical efficiency of a SOFC-powered power plant is higher than 42%, which is comparable to the highest level of internal combustion engines. For comparison: efficiency, i.e. Efficiency, i.e. Scientists have attempted to create synthesis gas using a variety of natural hydrocarbon fuels, including coal, gas, and oil products. Methanol development was technologically simple with low energy consumption, energy losses, and high efficiency. “In other words, methanol requires less fuel and oxidizer to produce one unit of energy than existing internal combustion engines. According to Sergey Shcheklein, less air is used from the atmosphere and significantly fewer combustion products such as carbon dioxide or the life-threatening Nitrous dioxide are formed. However, it is possible to obtain methanol from methane using modern reactors (such a fast neutron reactor), which is not only feasible but also the most efficient way to produce the gas mixtures. This work is part of the five-year project “Thermodynamic Analysis of Hydrogen Use for Metallurgical and Power Engineering Enterprises,” which was carried out under a state assignment from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.NoteAccording to scientists, given the current level of oil and gas consumption, these sources of energy will be enough for mankind for the next 60 years. The development of new fossil fuels leads also to the destruction of production areas, including Arctic, and to the melting of permafrost, which in turn results in the release of massive amounts of methane. This increases the greenhouse effect and ozone loss. The problem is that the hydrocarbon fuel combustion products’ emissions can cause environmental pollution. Solid oxide fuel cells are an alternative method to generating electricity. SOFCs are more environmentally friendly than other devices. They have a high efficiency of up to 70% and convert chemical energy into electricity. Solid oxide fuel cells work on hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen is the most abundant element. Its reserves are unlimited and it is very environmentally friendly. Combining hydrogen with electrochemical power generators offers great potential for electric transport. This will increase the efficiency and safety of all vehicles, regardless of their size. This means that harmful substances’ emissions are either negligible or reduced by hundreds of thousands of times. However, pure hydrogen is difficult to obtain since it is easily incorporated into chemical reactions. Hydrogen is also characterized by high fluidity and large specific volumes in the gaseous form. It can also be explosive and requires complex storage and transportation technologies. However, existing methods of producing hydrogen are energy-intensive and consume large amounts electrical energy. The traditional source of hydrogen is power plants that burn coal, gas, or oil. The benefits of hydrogen fuel are not widely shared, so it is currently not possible to use large quantities of hydrogen technology in transport. The prospects of producing hydrogen to obtain both atomic and hydrocarbon energy are good. However, all types renewable energy sources have the potential to eliminate these drawbacks and reap the benefits of hydrogen fuel in the 21st Century .###.

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This article was authored by Daniel Webster using Artificial Intelligence. To learn more visit
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