Methanol and hydrogen (1.9 MB) - Danish Technological Institute

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Methanol and hydrogen (1.9 MB) - Danish Technological Institute

Methanol and hydrogenMethanol – the ideal material for storing hydrogen for fuel cell stacksHydrogen and fuel cell stacksHydrogen is the preferred fuel forfuel cell stacks, but it is difficult tohandle and store. It is thereforevery attractive to use a materialwhich can ”absorb” the hydrogenand act as hydrogen-carrier.Methanol as hydrogen-carrierMethanol is an excellent hydrogen-carrierand can therefore beused as a hydrogen store for fuelcells. Methanol is easily turnedinto hydrogen through a catalyticprocess, using a fuel reformer.This is done at a temperature of200-300 °C.Many other liquid fuels can bereformed into hydrogen, but theprocess requires a considerablyhigher temperature and greaterenergy consumption than whenusing methanol.Methanol and the transportsectorToday, methanol is used extensivelyin the chemical industry,which therefore has considerableexperience of handling andstoring methanol.Experiencesuggests that it will be relativelyeasy to integrate methanol in thecurrent infrastructure for supplyingfuel to the transport sector.Production methodsOne of the great advantages ofmethanol is, that it can be producedin many ways. Currently,most of the methanol for industrialuse is produced though bysteam reforming of natural gas.Sustainable energyTo be a sustainable fuel, methanolmust, however, be producedon the basis of sustainable energysources. Fortunately, thereare many ways of producingmethanol on the basis of sustainableenergy and the methods arefamiliar.CostHydrogen produced on the basisof reformed methanol is alreadyvery competitive. One m³ of hydrogenbought as industrial gasis approx. 5-8 times as expensiveas hydrogen produced on thebasis of methanol.Danish Technological Institute - www.dti.dk


TechnicalspecificationsSafety and environmentMethanol is poisonous to the human organism and must be handled with thesame precautions as petrol and diesel. 25 ml of methanol constitutes a fatalquantity and methanol can be absorbed in the body through breathing, the skinor ingestion. Of course, safeguards must be taken against this when constructingmethanol-based systems. However, smaller quantities are not harmful to thebody, as they occur naturally and methanol is broken down in the body.From a combustion point of view, methanol is regarded as a safer fuel thanpetrol, as it burns more slowly and develops less heat. Methanol is broken downnaturally if discharged into nature and can be diluted with water in the case ofmajor discharges.ProductionComparison with otherenergy storage technologiesMethanol can be produced on the basis of sustainable energy sources in manyways. Some of the main methods are:• Gasification of biomass• Steam-reforming of biogas• Electrolysis using electricity from wind or solar energy combined with CO 2from power plants• Fermentation of biomassFacts about methanolContactMethanol has the following characteristics:• Synonyms: Methyl alcohol, wood alcohol• Chemical formula: CH3OH• Boiling point: 64.6 ˚C• Density: 791 kg/m3• Energy density: 19.9 MJ/kgJesper Lebæk JespersenDirect/mobile line: +45 72 20 12 51E-mail: jesper.jespersen@teknologisk.dkDanish Technological InstituteKongsvang Allé 29 DK-8000 Århus C

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