[Magazine] The Fuel Cell Review. Volume 1. Issue 3

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The chief attraction of the demonstrator: it uses a direct-methanol fuel cell (DMFC) to convert liquid methanol into electrical power – a set-up that ensures the refuelling is a lot simpler than it would be with gaseous- or liquid-hydrogen feedstocks. Instead of three conventional lead-acid batteries, as installed by the manufacturer, the vehicle is now powered by a hybrid drive consisting of a fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery. In normal operation, the fuel cell drives the vehicle’s electric motor, though the battery is called upon in cases of special load, such as when starting or driving uphill.

Another aspect of the microporous matrix is the presence of strengthening fibres, which protect against fracture and allow the insulation to be moulded into complex shapes dependent on the system design. Consider this When it comes to system implementation, choosing the right insulation material and ensuring compatibility with the fuel-cell stack are fundamental aspects of any design. Traditionally, most of Microtherm’s microporous materials have been based on fumed silica, a low-density material that bonds together well when compressed.

It’s worth noting that many functions – such as the methanol supply – have been integrated into the stack, and Stolten says there is no need to heat or humidify the air before it reacts with methanol. The Jülich demonstrator has successfully completed its first road trials and will be on show at the upcoming Fuel Cell Seminar in San Antonio, Texas, at the beginning of November. “We intend to seek potential industrial partners with whom we can continue to jointly ● develop the system,” added Stolten.

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