The magic combination of fuel cell technology and catalysts


Could fuel cells be the power of the future? Fuel cells are the most energy efficient devices for extracting power from fuels, such as hydrogen. They can provide clean power for applications ranging from large-scale use in utility power stations, transportation and production plants, to small systems such as portable computers. Given its many advantages, the chemical industry is exploring ways to further improve the performance and uptake of this alternative energy source.

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines the chemical energy of hydrogen with oxygen from air to produce electrical energy. Clariant has developed highly durable and efficient catalysts required to produce the hydrogen these fuel cells need to generate electricity. Clariant converts hydrocarbon fuels, like methane or methanol, into high-purity hydrogen using catalysts at a wide range of temperatures in a four-step process: desulfurisation, reforming, water-gas shift, and CO purification.

Using fuel cells as power source offers many advantages. Since the main reactants in fuel cells are hydrogen and oxygen, they produce completely harmless by-products: water and heat. There are neither carbon dioxide emissions , nor other air pollutants that could be hazardous to the environment. They also help reduce the use of natural resources, since they are 90% more efficient with combined heat in obtaining energy from fuel. Furthermore, they offer secure, continuous power around the clock.

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