In situ H2 supply technology for micro fuel cells powering mobile electronics appliances
Novel solutions for hydrogen storage in mobile and portable scale are under development in the ISH2 project. The concept is based on in conversion of a hydrogen rich primary fuel to hydrogen gas in situ and on demand. The concept involves a compact, easy to transport fuel storage unit having a high hydrogen content and delivery of pure hydrogen gas as needed by the electronic appliance. The principle target applications are the mobile and portable fuel cells (5-20 W). Two alternative primary fuels are studied in the ISH2 project: sodium borohydride (NaBH) and methanol.
The ISH2 system is a hybrid system, constructed of a hydrogen production unit (the fuel cartridge) and of a PEM fuel cell (Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell). A fuel cartridge containing liquid methanol or solid sodium borohydride can made of light, inexpensive and recyclable materials as opposed to pressurized metallic containers used for storing gaseous hydrogen. In the case of methanol electrolysis the concept combines the benefits of both PEM and the DMFC (Direct Methanol Fuel Cell) technologies: the higher volumetric power density of the PEM fuel cells and the higher volumetric energy density of methanol than the gaseous hydrogen. Other components of the proposed hydrogen production system are an intermediate electricity storage (a small rechargeable secondary battery or a supercapacitor) and a control system. The electricity storage provides start-up power and conditions the power peaks. The control system optimizes the system output.
Focus of the ISH2 project is to develop the described fuel cartridge and the electronic control system. Commercially available micro fuel cells are utilized as demonstration applications. The main target is to prove feasibility of the both fuelling technologies under development in a way which fulfills the RCS requirements of mobile and portable electronic appliances in consumer markets. Also, a another goal is to scheme logistics for the one-time-use fuel cartridges of the proposed fuelling system.
Figure 2. Project organisation.